Lebanon national football team


Lebanon
Nickname(s)رجال الأرز
(The Cedars)
AssociationLebanese Football Association
(الاتحاد اللبناني لكرة القدم)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
Head coachIvan Hašek
CaptainHassan Maatouk
Most capsHassan Maatouk (93)
Top scorerHassan Maatouk (21)
Home stadiumCamille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
FIFA codeLBN
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 93 (27 May 2021)[1]
Highest77 (September 2018)
Lowest178 (April – May 2011)
First international
 Mandatory Palestine 5–1 Lebanon 
(Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine; 27 April 1940)
Biggest win
 Lebanon 8–1 Pakistan 
(Bangkok, Thailand; 26 May 2001)
 Lebanon 7–0 Laos 
(Sidon, Lebanon; 12 November 2015)
Biggest defeat
 China PR 6–0 Lebanon 
(Chongqing, China; 3 July 2004)
 Lebanon 0–6 Kuwait 
(Beirut, Lebanon; 2 July 2011)
 South Korea 6–0 Lebanon 
(Goyang, South Korea; 2 September 2011)
AFC Asian Cup
Appearances3 (first in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage (2000, 2019)
FIFA Arab Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1963)
Best resultThird place (1963)
WAFF Championship
Appearances7 (first in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage (7 times)
Websitethe-lfa.com (in Arabic)

The Lebanon national football team,[lower-alpha 1] controlled by the Lebanese Football Association (LFA), have represented Lebanon in association football since their inception in 1933. The squad is governed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) continentally, and FIFA worldwide. While Lebanon have yet to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, they have qualified three times to the AFC Asian Cup: they first participated in 2000, when they hosted the event. Lebanon's main venue is the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut; however they also play in other locations such as the Saida International Stadium in Sidon.

In 1935, Lebanon played their first match against the Romanian side CA Timișoara (TAC), but it was not ratified by FIFA. Lebanon played their first FIFA-recognised game in 1940 against Mandatory Palestine. During their 2014 qualification campaign for the World Cup, Lebanon reached the final qualifying round for the first time thanks to a 2–1 victory against South Korea at home in 2011, but failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finishing bottom of their group. At the 2019 Asian Cup, Lebanon were close to qualifying to the knock-out stages for the first time. However, they lost a tiebreaker to Vietnam in the third-place ranking on the fair play rule and were knocked out of the competition at the group stage. Lebanon also compete in the Arab Cup, the WAFF Championship, and the Pan Arab Games. As hosts, they have finished third—once at the Arab Cup and twice at the Pan Arab Games.

Inspired by their national symbol, the Lebanese team is known as "the Cedars" (Arabic: رجال الأرز) by fans and media. Their home kit is primarily red and their away kit white, a reference to their national flag. After a steady decline in their FIFA ranking from 1998 to 2016, Lebanon jumped 66 places (from 147th in 2016 to 81st in 2018) and reached their highest rank to date—77th—in September 2018. This came after a 16-game unbeaten streak, from 24 March 2016 to 11 October 2018, during which Lebanon won eight games and drew seven.

History


1933–1957: The beginning

Lebanon was one of the first nations in the Middle East to establish an administrative body for association football.[lower-alpha 2][2] On 22 March 1933, representatives of 13 football clubs gathered in the Minet El Hosn district in Beirut to form the Lebanese Football Association (LFA).[3][4] The LFA was first headed by Hussein Sejaan,[5] and joined FIFA in 1936.[4][6]

On 3 February 1934, 22 players from Beirut were called-up to a training camp by the LFA in view of a friendly game against the Romanian side CA Timișoara (TAC); the players were divided into two teams, and played against each other at the American University of Beirut's (AUB) field.[7] The match against TAC, scheduled to be played on 18 February, was cancelled due to financial disagreements between the LFA and the AUB, who organized the encounter.[8] The Beirut select team eventually played against TAC on 21 November 1935 at AUB's field,[9] losing 3–0.[10] Beirut XI played their first game against Syria's Damascus XI in 1939 at the Habib Abou Chahla Stadium; the match ended in a 5–4 loss.[11] The two teams played 16 unofficial games until 1963, winning seven, drawing two, and losing seven.[11]

Lebanese forward Camille Cordahi during the 1940 match against Mandatory Palestine

The national team's first official FIFA game was a 5–1 loss to Mandatory Palestine on 27 April 1940.[12] Camille Cordahi, assisted by Muhieddine Jaroudi, scored for Lebanon in the second half, becoming his team's first official international scorer.[13] Lebanon played their first official game against Syria on 19 April 1942; coached by Abed Traboulsi, Lebanon lost 2–1 in Beirut.[14] In 1947 Lebanon played two more friendlies against Syria: a 4–1 defeat in Beirut on 4 May,[15] and a 1–0 defeat in Aleppo on 18 May.[16]

During the early-1950s, Lebanon were coached by Vinzenz Dittrich and Ljubiša Broćić.[17][18] The side played four official games between 1953 and 1956, most notably hosting Hungary in 1956.[12] Lebanon lost the match 4–1, with Hungary's Ferenc Puskás scoring two goals.[11] The team also played unofficial games against top-level European clubs such as Dynamo Moscow, Leipzig, and Spartak Trnava in 1957.[11] Lebanon played Energia Flacăra Ploiești the same year in the opening game of the Sports City Stadium.[19] The match ended 1–0 for Lebanon thanks to a Joseph Abou Murad goal.[19]

1957–1989: Early history

From 19 to 27 October 1957 Lebanon hosted the second edition of the Pan Arab Games, and were drawn with Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan in the group stages.[20] After two 1–1 draws against Saudi Arabia and Syria, Lebanon defeated Jordan 6–3 in their first official international win thanks to two braces by Joseph Abou Murad and Mardik Tchaparian, and one goal each by Robert Chehade and Levon Altounian; this placed them first in their group.[20] In the semifinals, Lebanon lost 4–2 to Tunisia.[20] They finished in third place, however, since Morocco withdrew from the third-place match.[20]

Joseph Nalbandian was appointed coach of the national team in 1958.[21] He was one of Lebanon's most successful coaches, winning nine of 26 official matches during his 11-year tenure.[12] Under Nalbadian, Lebanon hosted the 1959 Mediterranean Games and were grouped with Italy B and Turkey B.[lower-alpha 3][22] They finished last in the group, after four losses to the two European teams.[22]

Lebanon at the 1966 Arab Cup

Lebanon hosted the inaugural edition of the Arab Cup in 1963, and were grouped with Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait, and Jordan.[23] They won their first match against Kuwait 6–0, thanks to a hat-trick by Tchaparian.[24] This six-goal win tied Lebanon's biggest win to date, a 7–1 victory against Saudi Arabia in 1961.[25] After another win (against Jordan) and two losses (to Syria and Tunisia), Lebanon finished third in the tournament.[23] In the 1966 edition, Lebanon were drawn with Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain in Group A.[26] After three wins and a draw, they qualified to the semi-finals against Syria, where they lost 1–0.[26] In the third-place match, Lebanon lost 6–1 to Libya, finishing the competition in fourth place.[26] Lebanon had also played at the 1964 Tripoli Fair Tournament; in a group with Libya, Sudan, Morocco, and Malta, they finished in first place with seven points.[27]

Having joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1964,[4][6] Lebanon's first Asian Cup qualifying campaign was in 1971, coached by Joseph Abou Murad.[21] In the first round they lost to hosts Kuwait 1–0, but defeated neighbours Syria 3–2 to qualify for the next round.[28] In a decisive semi-final match against Iraq, Lebanon lost 4–1 and were eliminated.[28] Due to the country's civil war, Lebanon only played nine games between 1975 and 1990.[25] They appeared in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers held in Abu Dhabi; with one win, one draw, and one defeat, Lebanon came third in their group and were eliminated.[29] Lebanon also initially took part in the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifiers; however, after playing four matches, Lebanon withdrew and their results were annulled.[30] In the 1988 Arab Cup, Lebanon were drawn with Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, and the Saudi Arabia Olympic team.[31] They finished third in their group, with one win, two draws, and one defeat.[31]

1993–2004: Post-Civil War

Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in 1982; it was destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War.

In 1993 Lebanon played their first qualification campaign after the civil war, in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with Adnan Al Sharqi as their coach.[32] Their gap of 57 years between the date of FIFA affiliation (1936) and their first full World Cup qualifying campaign (1993) was the highest to date; it was surpassed by the Philippines three years later with a gap of 68 years.[33] After two wins, two losses, and four draws, Lebanon finished third in their group and were eliminated.[34] Under Terry Yorath, the team's first foreign manager since the war, Lebanon began their first post-war campaign to qualify for the 1996 AFC Asian Cup.[35] Despite winning twice against Turkmenistan and losing only once (at home, against Kuwait), Lebanon were eliminated from the competition with a one-point difference with Kuwait (the group leader).[35]

Yorath helped Lebanon gain 10 places in the FIFA World Ranking thanks to a 3–3 draw against the Czech Republic and a 1–0 win against Jordan, both friendlies played in February 1997.[36] Thanks to their performances, Lebanon were awarded the Asian Team of the Month award in February.[36] Lebanon were drawn in a group which included Kuwait and Singapore in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, played between April and June 1997.[37] Led by Yorath, the Cedars were eliminated with only four points.[37] Despite the team's elimination, the Welsh manager was one of the team's most successful managers, winning 13 of 31 official matches during his two-year tenure.[25]

Lebanon hosted the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, despite FIFA's concerns about stadium conditions.[38] Under Croatian coach Josip Skoblar,[39] Lebanon, captained by Jamal Taha,[40] drew into Group A with Iran, Iraq, and Thailand.[41] Out of the 23 called-up players for the tournament, five were Brazilians with Lebanese ancestry.[42]

Lebanon played their first Asian Cup game against Iran on 12 October 2000 at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium with 52,418 spectators.[41] Trailing by one goal at half time, Lebanon conceded three further goals in the second half to end their first group stage match in a 4–0 defeat.[41] In the second match, against Iraq, two goals in the first 22 minutes gave the opposing team a comfortable lead.[41] However, an Abbas Chahrour long-distance volley in the 28th minute,[43] Lebanon's first goal in the competition,[44] and a goal by Moussa Hojeij in the 76th minute gave Lebanon their first point of the competition.[41] Lebanon played Thailand in the final group stage match.[41] With the opposing team gaining the lead in the 58th minute, Luís Fernandes equalised for Lebanon to end the match 1–1.[41] The draw was not enough as they finished last in the group, with only two points.[41]

Managed by Theo Bücker, Lebanon drew with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand in the first round of the 2002 World Cup qualifications.[45] The team, with good offense from Roda Antar, Haitham Zein, Vartan Ghazarian, and Gilberto dos Santos, finished second in their group with 26 goals in six games (the most in their group).[45]

Under Richard Tardy,[46] Lebanon drew into Group D of the 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.[47] Before the match away to North Korea, the Lebanese team were reportedly ill-treated; hotel conditions were poor, and their training field contained goats and sheep.[48] Lebanon finished third in their group, with four points.[47] For the second round of the qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup, Lebanon were grouped with South Korea, Vietnam, and the Maldives.[49] Under Mahmoud Hamoud, they finished second in their group and were eliminated.[49]

2006–2014: Failed qualifications and match fixing

Lebanon drew into Group D for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign with Australia, Bahrain, and Kuwait, played in 2006.[50] The scheduled meeting between Australia and Lebanon made Buddy Farah, an Australian player of Lebanese descent, declare his return to the Lebanese national side.[51] Before Lebanon's match with Bahrain on 16 August, it was announced on 1 August that the Asian Football Confederation had accepted a withdrawal request from the Lebanon Football Association due to the 2006 Lebanon War, which forced several players to leave their homes to avoid the war.[52] In 2007 Lebanon was seeded in the first round of the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, where they faced India to qualify directly for the third round of the qualifiers.[53] Lebanon won 6–3 on aggregate and advanced to the third round, with two goals by Mohammed Ghaddar in the second match.[53] Lebanon, grouped with Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Uzbekistan, finished last with no points.[54]

In April 2008, Lebanon and the Maldives (the two lowest-ranked teams in Asia)[lower-alpha 4][55] played home-and-away matches in the preliminary round of the 2011 Asian Cup; the winner would proceed to the next round.[58][59] A 4–0 home win and a 2–1 victory in the away match advanced Lebanon to the qualifying round.[58][59] Between 2009 and 2010, they drew into Group D with China, Syria, and Vietnam, finishing last.[60] Emile Rustom, re-appointed as head coach in November 2008, led Lebanon into the second round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.[61] They faced Bangladesh, winning 4–0 in Beirut on 23 July 2011, and losing 2–0 in Dhaka five days later.[62] Lebanon advanced to the third round, where they were grouped with South Korea, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.[63] Rustom resigned less than a week later, citing internal administrative problems.[64][65]

On 4 August 2011, Theo Bücker was reappointed as Lebanon's head coach.[66] The former national team manager took the reins nine years after leaving that position. Lebanon began the third round losing 6–0 away to South Korea. In the second match, they came back from one goal down to defeat the United Arab Emirates 3–1 at home.[67][68] The team then drew 2–2 to Kuwait in Beirut on 11 October.[69] For the first time since 2005, when the LFA barred fans from the stadiums due to behavioural issues, spectators (32,000) were allowed at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium.[70] Bad fan behaviour (mainly fireworks-related) was again a problem against Kuwait, forcing referee Masaaki Toma to stop the game several times.[71] A month later, Lebanon defeated Kuwait 1–0 in Kuwait City;[72] it was Kuwait's first home loss to Lebanon.[73] On 15 November, Lebanon hosted South Korea at Beirut's Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium before over 40,000 spectators.[74] Ali Al Saadi gave Lebanon the lead after four minutes, however South Korea tied the score with a penalty kick. Lebanon regained the lead in the 30th minute through an Abbas Ali Atwi penalty; the match finished in a 2–1 victory. Lebanon's first-ever win against South Korea qualified them for the fourth (and final) round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time.[75]

Abbas Ali Atwi (second from right) was Lebanon's captain against Iran at the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

In 2012 Lebanon drew into Group A of the fourth round, with South Korea, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Qatar.[76] In Lebanon's fourth game, on 11 September against Iran, a first-half Roda Antar goal gave Lebanon the lead through a header.[77] They held onto the lead and won 1–0; the three points were crucial to stay in contention for a spot at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[77] On 26 February 2013, team members Ramez Dayoub and Mahmoud El Ali were involved in the 2013 Lebanese match-fixing scandal; they were accused of illegal betting on several matches involving Lebanese teams (including the national team), in addition to manipulating results.[78] The players were fined $15,000 and banned from the Lebanon Football Association for life.[79] Lebanon's 1–0 defeat to Qatar was part of the scandal, with defender Dayoub purposely passing the ball to the Qatari striker, who netted the only goal of the game.[80] The Lebanese team then lost to Uzbekistan 1–0 on the road.[81] In the following match they hosted South Korea in Beirut and led 1–0, until South Korea scored the equaliser in the 97th minute, eliminating Lebanon.[82]

In 2013 the team drew into group B with Iran, Thailand and Kuwait for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifications.[83] After losing 5–0 to Iran, and winning 5–2 against Thailand, Giuseppe Giannini replaced Theo Bücker as head coach.[84] During Giannini's first game, on match day three, Mohammad Ghaddar scored the equaliser against Kuwait in Beirut to earn a point for Lebanon.[85] Lebanon ended the qualifications in third place in their group, with two wins, two draws, and two losses.[83] Lebanon and China were tied on points in the ranking of third-places teams; China had a better goal difference, however, and went on to play in the final tournament.[83]

After the country's failed attempt to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, the Lebanese Football Association decided to reform the national team in 2014 by modeling it on the Belgium national team (particularly Belgium's performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil).[86] Inviting new players from nations with a large Lebanese community (such as the United States, Germany, Denmark, and Norway) would, it was hoped, bring about a rebirth of Lebanese football.[86] On 8 September 2014, Lebanon played an unofficial FIFA match against the Brazilian Olympic team in Doha for the first time; the match ended in a 2–2 draw. Hassan Maatouk scored a goal which would have given Lebanon a 3–1 lead, but the goal was incorrectly ruled offside; Brazil's equalising goal was erroneously ruled onside.[87][88] The match excited the Lebanese people, despite poor refereeing.[87] After Lebanon's 5–0 away loss to Qatar a month later,[89] Giuseppe Giannini was fired.[90]

2015–present: Recent history

Radulović coached Lebanon between 2015 and 2019.

Miodrag Radulović was appointed the team's new coach in 2015,[91] and led Lebanon in the 2018 World Cup qualifications, played between June 2015 and March 2016.[92] The team were drawn in a group that included Asia's runners-up South Korea, Kuwait, Myanmar, and Laos,[93] the second time Lebanon faced South Korea and Kuwait in World Cup qualifiers. Lebanon finished second in the group and, although they were eliminated from the World Cup, they qualified to the 2019 Asian Cup qualification third round, played between March 2017 and March 2018.[94]

The Asian Cup draw put Lebanon in Group B, with North Korea, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.[95] With five wins and a draw, Lebanon topped the group and qualified for the cup for the first time (after qualifying as host in 2000, the country's only previous participation).[96] Hassan Maatouk (who succeeded Roda Antar as captain in 2016)[97] was key to Lebanon's success, scoring five goals in six games.[98] Although Radulović failed to qualify the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he helped Lebanon qualify for their first-ever AFC Asian Cup in 2019;[94] he was the first Montenegrin manager to help a team qualify for a major tournament. Radulović managed a 16-game unbeaten streak (from 24 March 2016 to 11 October 2018),[99][100] winning eight and drawing eight.[25] In September 2018, Lebanon achieved their best-ever FIFA ranking (77th).[101]

Lebanon during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group stage match against Saudi Arabia

Lebanon relied on their diaspora abroad for the 2019 Asian Cup, with nine of their 23 called-up players being born outside of Lebanon.[42] They started the campaign on 9 January 2019, with a 2–0 loss against Qatar.[102] In the 37th minute, Ali Hamam scored a goal for Lebanon from a corner, only for it to be controversially disallowed for a foul.[103][104] Two goals by Qatar in the second half secured all three points for the opposing team.[105] Three days later, Lebanon played their second match of the tournament against Saudi Arabia.[106] Two goals without reply brought Lebanon their second defeat of the tournament.[106]

In the final group stage game against North Korea, played on 17 January, Lebanon needed to win by four goals to pass to the knock-out stages.[107] The encounter ended in a 4–1 win, thanks to a brace by Hilal El-Helwe, which gave Lebanon their first ever Asian Cup win.[107] However, they lost out to Vietnam in the third-place ranking on the fair play rule.[107] Because they had received seven yellow cards against five by Vietnam, they were knocked out of the competition.[107]

Liviu Ciobotariu was appointed for the joint qualifications for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.[108] His first games took place at the 2019 WAFF Championship, where Lebanon were drawn with hosts Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen.[109] Lebanon finished fourth in their group with four points, after a win, a draw, and two defeats.[109]

For the second round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup, Lebanon were drawn with South Korea, for the third time in a row,[63][93] North Korea, who Lebanon had faced in both the qualifications and final stage of the 2019 Asian Cup,[95][107] Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka.[110] Lebanon played five matches (two wins, two draws, and one defeat) between September and November 2019,[111] before the remaining games were postponed on 9 March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia.[112][113]

Former national team captain Jamal Taha was appointed head coach on 17 June 2020.[114] North Korea withdrew from the World Cup qualifiers in May 2021, and their previous results were voided; this highly benefited Lebanon, as they had only gained one point in two games against them.[115] Lebanon headed into their last three games in June 2021, against Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and South Korea, needing six points to qualify to the third and final round without having to rely on other results.[116]

Following a slim 3–2 win over Sri Lanka,[117] Lebanon lost a 2–1 lead against Turkmenistan in the final five minutes, losing 3–2.[118] Away to South Korea, Lebanon took the lead in the first half, before the home side overturned the result in the second half, winning 2–1.[119] Despite not getting the six points required, other results went in Lebanon's favour and they finished among the best runners-up, qualifying to the 2023 Asian Cup for the third time, and the final round of the 2022 World Cup for the second time.[120]

Kits


Lebanon's kit in 1940, 1966, and 2019, respectively

The national team traditionally wear red as their primary colour and white as their secondary colour.[2][121] The choices originate from the national flag of Lebanon (red, white, and green); green is typically reserved for the goalkeeper.[122] At home, Lebanon usually wear a red shirt, shorts, and socks, with white details;[106] the away kit is a white outfit with red details.[105]

During their first unofficial match in 1935, Lebanon wore white shirts with the Lebanese cedar and the association's name on the chest, black shorts, and white socks; the goalkeeper wore a black shirt and white trousers.[123] In 1940, on the occasion of their first FIFA-sanctioned game against Mandatory Palestine, Lebanon wore a white kit with a black collar, along with black shorts and striped socks.[124] During the 1960s, Lebanon wore a red shirt with a white horizontal band in the center, which included a green cedar tree in the middle; the shorts were white, and the socks were red-and-white-striped.[125]

In the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, Lebanon wore a red Adidas shirt with white details on the sides and a white collar, white shorts, and red socks.[126] In the 2019 campaign, Lebanon wore a red kit (manufactured by Capelli Sport) with white details and a white collar.[106] The Lebanese cedar, the country's national symbol, is present under the team logo in a darker shade of red.[127] Since 2015 the team kit has been manufactured by Capelli Sport,[128] a sports brand founded by Lebanese-born entrepreneur George Altirs.[129] Previous manufacturers include Diadora and Adidas.[130][131]

Lebanon is known as "the Cedars" (Arabic: رجال الأرز) by fans and the media, since the cedar tree is the country's national symbol.[132][133][134]

Home stadium


The Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium during the Beirut derby in 2018

The Lebanese national team play their home games in various stadiums throughout the country. The team's main venue is the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Built in 1957 during the presidency of Camille Chamoun, it is the country's largest stadium with 49,500 seats.[135] Its inaugural game was in 1957, when the national team played Energia Flacara Ploiesti and won 1–0 thanks to a Joseph Abou Murad goal.[19] It was the main stadium used to host the 2000 Asian Cup held in Lebanon; six matches were played in the stadium including the opening match and the final.[136][137] In 2011 the stadium hosted the famed 2–1 victory against South Korea in the 2014 World Cup qualification, sending Lebanon to the final round of qualification for the first time.[74] Over 40,000 spectators were present to watch the match.[74]

The national team, however, also play in other stadiums such as the Saida International Stadium located in Sidon. Built over the sea, the stadium holds 22,600 people,[138] and was one of the venues to host the 2000 Asian Cup.[139] Other stadiums in which the national team play include the Tripoli Municipal Stadium and the Beirut Municipal Stadium.[140][141]

Players


Current squad

The following 21 players were called up for the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup qualification match against Djibouti on 23 June 2021.[142]

Information correct as of 20 July 2021.[143]
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Mehdi Khalil (1991-09-19) 19 September 1991 (age 29) 47 0 Ahed
21 1GK Mostafa Matar (1995-09-10) 10 September 1995 (age 25) 4 0 Ahed
23 1GK Ali Daher (1996-11-26) 26 November 1996 (age 24) 2 0 Shabab Sahel

3 2DF Maher Sabra (1992-01-14) 14 January 1992 (age 29) 9 0 Nejmeh
4 2DF Nour Mansour (1989-10-22) 22 October 1989 (age 31) 58 2 Ahed
5 2DF Hussein Zein (1995-01-27) 27 January 1995 (age 26) 11 0 Ahed
12 2DF Robert Alexander Melki (1992-11-14) 14 November 1992 (age 28) 13 0 Al-Shahania
16 2DF Hassan "Shibriko" Chaitou (1991-06-16) 16 June 1991 (age 30) 13 0 Ansar
18 2DF Kassem El Zein (1990-12-02) 2 December 1990 (age 30) 22 0 Nejmeh
19 2DF Abdallah Aich (1995-10-05) 5 October 1995 (age 25) 2 0 Nejmeh

2 3MF Abbas Assi (1995-07-09) 9 July 1995 (age 26) 2 0 Shabab Sahel
6 3MF Mouhammed-Ali Dhaini (1994-03-01) 1 March 1994 (age 27) 5 0 Trelleborg
8 3MF Majed Osman (1994-06-09) 9 June 1994 (age 27) 3 0 Ansar
10 3MF Mohamad Haidar (1989-11-08) 8 November 1989 (age 31) 71 4 Ahed
13 3MF Haidar Khriess (1996-01-01) 1 January 1996 (age 25) 0 0 Safa
14 3MF Nader Matar (1992-05-12) 12 May 1992 (age 29) 43 2 Muaither
15 3MF Hussein Monzer (1997-03-20) 20 March 1997 (age 24) 12 0 Ahed

7 4FW Hassan Maatouk (Captain) (1987-08-10) 10 August 1987 (age 33) 93 21 Ansar
9 4FW Hilal El-Helwe (1994-11-24) 24 November 1994 (age 26) 31 9 Al-Faisaly
17 4FW Ahmad Hijazi (1994-08-22) 22 August 1994 (age 26) 2 0 Ansar
22 4FW Hassan Mehanna (1997-01-29) 29 January 1997 (age 24) 0 0 Safa

Recent call-ups

The following footballers were part of a national selection in the past 12 months, but are not part of the current squad.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Ali Sabeh (1994-06-24) 24 June 1994 (age 27) 1 0 Nejmeh v.  Bahrain, 13 November 2020

DF Joan Oumari (1988-08-19) 19 August 1988 (age 32) 28 4 FC Tokyo v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
DF Nassar Nassar (1992-01-01) 1 January 1992 (age 29) 13 0 Ansar v.  Kuwait, 29 March 2021
DF Nader Marrouch (1996-04-07) 7 April 1996 (age 25) 0 0 Akhaa Ahli Aley v.  Kuwait, 29 March 2021
DF Mohamed Zein Tahan (1988-04-20) 20 April 1988 (age 33) 36 1 Safa v.  Bahrain, 13 November 2020

MF George Felix Melki (1994-07-23) 23 July 1994 (age 27) 16 1 Sarpsborg 08 v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
MF Bassel Jradi (1993-07-06) 6 July 1993 (age 28) 11 1 Apollon Limassol v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
MF Hassan "Moni" Chaito INJ (1989-03-20) 20 March 1989 (age 32) 61 6 Nejmeh v.  Kuwait, 29 March 2021
MF Youssef Barakat (1998-05-09) 9 May 1998 (age 23) 0 0 Shabab Sahel v.  Kuwait, 29 March 2021
MF Ahmad Jalloul (1992-01-23) 23 January 1992 (age 29) 14 0 Safa v.  Bahrain, 13 November 2020
MF Khaled Mohssen (1998-01-10) 10 January 1998 (age 23) 1 0 1. FC Phönix Lübeck v.  Bahrain, 13 November 2020
MF Houssein Rizk INJ (1997-01-01) 1 January 1997 (age 24) 1 0 Shabab Sahel v.  Bahrain, 13 November 2020

FW Rabih Ataya (1989-07-16) 16 July 1989 (age 32) 40 5 Kedah v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
FW Soony Saad (1992-08-17) 17 August 1992 (age 28) 18 5 Al-Wehdat v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
FW Mohamad Kdouh (1997-07-10) 10 July 1997 (age 24) 14 4 Amanat Baghdad v.  South Korea, 13 June 2021
FW Karim Darwich (1998-11-02) 2 November 1998 (age 22) 3 0 Ansar v.  Kuwait, 29 March 2021

INJ Withdrew due to injury

Competitive record


Overview
Event 1st place 2nd place 3rd place 4th place
World Cup 0 0 0 0
Asian Cup 0 0 0 0
Summer Olympics 0 0 0 0
Arab Cup 0 0 1 2
WAFF Championship 0 0 0 0
Pan Arab Games 0 0 2 1
Asian Games 0 0 0 0
Mediterranean Games 0 0 1 0

FIFA World Cup

Lebanon's match against Iran at the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Although the Lebanese Football Association was formed in 1933,[3][4] Lebanon's first qualification campaign for the FIFA World Cup took place in the 1986 edition.[30] However, after playing four matches, Lebanon withdrew due to the ongoing civil war, and their results were subsequently annulled.[30] The country's first full qualification campaign came two editions later, in 1994, where they finished third in their group with two wins, four draws, and two losses.[34] Ever since, Lebanon have participated in every iteration of the World Cup qualifiers.

The closest Lebanon got to qualifying to the World Cup was during the 2014 campaign. After beating Bangladesh 4–2 on aggregate in the second round,[62] Lebanon qualified to the third round, where they were drawn with South Korea, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.[63] The team beat South Korea in a historical 2–1 win at home, coming second in their group and qualifying to the fourth (and final) round for the first time.[75] In the final round, Lebanon were grouped with Iran, South Korea, Uzbekistan, and Qatar.[83] With only one win and two draws in eight games, Lebanon finished last in Group A and were eliminated.[82]

Lebanon's FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA Ref
1930 Did not participate Did not participate
1934
1938
1950
1954
1958
1962
1966
1970
1974
1978
1982
1986 Withdrew Withdrew [30]
1990 Did not participate Did not participate
1994 Did not qualify 3rd of 5 8 2 4 2 8 9 [34]
1998 2nd of 3 4 1 1 2 4 7 [37]
2002 2nd of 4 6 4 1 1 26 5 [45]
2006 2nd of 4 6 3 2 1 11 5 [49]
2010 First round win, 4th of 4 8 1 1 6 9 17 [144]
2014 Second round win, 2nd of 4, 5th of 5 13 5 2 6 16 22 [145]
2018 2nd of 5 8 3 2 3 12 6 [146]
2022 To be determined Ongoing
2026 To be determined To be determined
Total Best: N/A 0/21 0 0 0 0 0 0 Total 53 19 13 21 86 71
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place Home venue

AFC Asian Cup

Lebanon's match against Qatar at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup

Lebanon's first qualification campaign for the AFC Asian Cup came at the 1972 edition; drawn in Group B of the Western Zone, Lebanon came second thanks to a 3–2 victory over neighbors Syria and advanced to the next stage.[28] In the decisive semi-final match against Iraq, Lebanon lost 4–1 and were knocked-out.[28] Lebanon won a consolatory third-place match against Jordan.[28]

The 2000 edition was Lebanon's first participation in the finals, when the country hosted the event.[38] Following a 4–0 defeat to Iran in the competition's opening match,[41] Lebanon came from behind to draw 2–2 against Iraq;[41] Abbas Chahrour became Lebanon's first goalscorer in the competition.[41] Lebanon drew once again, 1–1 against Thailand, and were eliminated, finishing last in the group.[41]

After finishing the 2019 third round of qualification unbeaten, Lebanon qualified to the Asian Cup for the first time in their history.[96] In the finals, Lebanon lost the first group stage match 2–0 to eventual champions Qatar,[105] before losing once again by the same score to Saudi Arabia.[106] In the final match of the group, Lebanon needed a win by four goals or more against North Korea to qualify to the knock-out stage.[107] Despite conceding an early free-kick goal, Lebanon went on to win the match 4–1 thanks to a brace by Hilal El-Helwe.[107] However, they lost out to Vietnam in the third-place ranking due to having received more yellow cards, and were knocked out of the competition.[107]

Lebanon's AFC Asian Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA Ref
1956 Did not participate Did not participate
1960
1964
1968
1972 Did not qualify 2nd of 3, semi-final loss 3 1 0 2 4 7 [28]
1976 Withdrew Withdrew [147]
1980 Did not qualify 3rd of 4 3 1 1 1 2 1 [29]
1984 Withdrew Withdrew [148]
1988 Did not participate Did not participate
1992
1996 Did not qualify 2nd of 3 4 2 1 1 7 6 [35]
2000 Group stage 10th of 12 3 0 2 1 3 7 Squad Qualified as hosts [41]
2004 Did not qualify 3rd of 4 6 1 1 4 2 8 [47]
2007 Withdrew Withdrew [50]
2011 Did not qualify Preliminary round win, 4th of 4 8 2 1 5 8 14 [57]
2015 3rd of 4 6 2 2 2 12 14 [149]
2019 Group stage 17th of 24 3 1 0 2 4 5 Squad 2nd of 5, 1st of 4 14 8 3 3 26 10 [150]
2023 Qualified 2nd of 5 6 3 1 2 11 8
Total Best: group stage 3/18 6 1 2 3 7 12 Total 50 20 10 20 72 68
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place/semi-finalists   Home venue

Summer Olympic Games

Lebanon's senior team have never qualified to the Summer Olympics final tournament; their first qualification campaign was for Rome 1960.[151] After losing the first two group stage games against Iraq, Lebanon withdrew and the two remaining matches were awarded to their opponent Turkey.[151] Lebanon participated in two more qualifications, in 1968 and 1972, failing to qualify to the final tournament on both occasions.[152][153]

Lebanon's Summer Olympic Games record Qualification record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA Ref
Paris 1900 Did not participate Did not participate
St. Louis 1904
London 1908
Stockholm 1912
Antwerp 1920
Paris 1924
Amsterdam 1928
Berlin 1936
London 1948
Helsinki 1952
Melbourne 1956
Rome 1960 Withdrew 3rd of 3 4 0 0 4 0 15 [151]
Tokyo 1964 Withdrew [154]
Mexico City 1968 Did not qualify 3rd of 6 5 2 1 2 18 9 [152]
Munich 1972 First round loss 3 1 0 2 2 3 [153]
Montreal 1976 Withdrew Withdrew [155]
Moscow 1980 Did not participate Did not participate
Los Angeles 1984 Withdrew Withdrew [156]
Seoul 1988 Did not participate Did not participate
1992–present
See Lebanon national under-23 football team See Lebanon national under-23 football team [157]
Total Best: N/A 0/19 Total 12 3 1 8 20 27
  Gold    Silver    Bronze   Home venue

FIFA Arab Cup

Lebanon at the 1963 Arab Cup

Lebanon have taken part in all iterations of the Arab Cup, except the 1985 and 1992 editions. They hosted the inaugural edition in 1963, in a group containing Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait, and Jordan.[23] After beating Kuwait 6–0 through a hat-trick by Mardik Tchaparian,[24] Lebanon lost 3–2 to Syria, before winning 5–0 against Jordan.[23] In a decisive match against Tunisia, Muhieddine Itani scored an own goal, and Lebanon lost 1–0, finishing third.[23]

Lebanon finished in fourth place in the subsequent two editions (1964 and 1966); ever since, they have failed to go past the group stage.[158][26]

Lebanon's FIFA Arab Cup record Qualification record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Outcome Pld W D L GF GA Ref
1963 Third place 3rd of 5 4 2 0 2 13 4 Squad Qualified as invitees [23]
1964 Fourth place 4th of 5 4 1 1 2 4 5 Squad Qualified as invitees [158]
1966 4th of 9 6 3 1 2 11 10 Squad Qualified as invitees [26]
1985 Did not participate Withdrew
1988 Group stage 6th of 10 4 1 2 1 2 4 Squad 2nd of 3 2 0 1 1 1 2 [31]
1992 Did not participate No qualifying tournament
1998 Group stage 9th of 12 2 0 1 1 1 4 Squad 3rd of 4 3 1 0 2 3 4 [159]
2002 8th of 10 4 1 1 2 5 7 Squad Qualified as invitees [160]
2009 Cancelled 2nd of 4 3 1 2 0 4 0 [161]
2012 Group stage 10th of 10 3 0 1 2 1 4 Squad Qualified as invitees [162]
2021 Qualified Win 1 1 0 0 1 0
Total Best: third place 8/10 27 8 7 12 37 38 Total 9 3 3 3 9 6
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place Home venue

WAFF Championship

Bar the 2008 and 2010 editions, Lebanon have participated in every WAFF Championship; however, they have failed to qualify past the group stage on all occasions. Their first participation in the WAFF Championship was in 2000, at the inaugural edition.[163] Drawn with Iraq, hosts Jordan, and Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon finished third in their group with one win, one draw, and one loss.[163]

Lebanon's WAFF Championship record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Ref
2000 Group stage 5th of 8 3 1 1 1 3 2 Squad [163]
2002 5th of 6 2 0 0 2 0 3 Squad [164]
2004 6th of 6 2 0 0 2 1 7 Squad [165]
2007 6th of 6 2 0 0 2 0 4 Squad [166]
2008 Did not participate
2010
2012 Group stage 9th of 12 3 1 0 2 2 3 Squad [167]
2014 8th of 9 2 0 1 1 0 2 Squad [168]
2019 7th of 9 4 1 1 2 3 4 Squad [169]
2023 To be determined Squad
Total Best: group stage 8/10 18 3 3 12 9 25
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place/semi-finalists   Home venue

Pan Arab Games

After participating in the inaugural edition of the Pan Arab Games, at Alexandria 1953,[170] Lebanon hosted the 1957 edition.[20] Topping a group containing Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, Lebanon reached the semi-finals where they lost 4–2 to Tunisia.[20] Due to Morocco withdrawing from the third-place match, Lebanon finished the tournament in third place.[20] Lebanon also came third in 1997, once again as hosts.[171] With two draws and a win, Lebanon came second in their group and qualified to the semi-finals, which they lost after extra time to Syria.[171] Lebanon finished in third place after beating Kuwait 3–1.[171]

Lebanon's Pan Arab Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Ref
Alexandria 1953 Group stage 5th of 6 3 1 1 1 1 4 Squad [170]
Beirut 1957 Third place 3rd of 8 5 2 2 1 10 6 Squad [20]
Casablanca 1961 Fourth place 4th of 6 5 2 0 3 13 9 Squad [172]
Cairo 1965 Group stage 7th of 10 4 1 1 2 4 7 Squad [173]
Damascus 1976 Did not participate
Rabat 1985
Aleppo 1992
Beirut 1997 Third place 3rd of 8 5 2 2 1 9 7 Squad [171]
Amman 1999 Second stage 5th of 11 5 2 1 2 6 9 Squad [174]
Cairo 2007 Did not participate
Doha 2011
Baghdad 2021 To be determined
Beirut 2025
Total Best: third place 6/11 27 10 7 10 43 42
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place Home venue

Asian Games

The Lebanon national senior team only participated once at the Asian Games, at Bangkok 1998. Thanks to a 5–1 win against Cambodia, Lebanon qualified past the preliminary round and were drawn with Qatar, Thailand, and Kazakhstan in the second round.[175] Following two 1–0 defeats, respectively to Qatar and Thailand, Lebanon won 3–0 against Kazakhstan in their final encounter of the group stage.[175] However, the three points weren't enough to qualify Lebanon to the knockout round.[175]

Lebanon's Asian Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Ref
New Delhi 1951 Did not participate
Manila 1954
Tokyo 1958
Jakarta 1962
Bangkok 1966
Bangkok 1970
Tehran 1974
Bangkok 1978
New Delhi 1982
Seoul 1986
Beijing 1990
Hiroshima 1994
Bangkok 1998 Group stage 12th of 23 5 2 0 3 9 7 Squad [175]
2002–present
See Lebanon national under-23 football team
Total Best: group stage 1/13 5 2 0 3 9 7
  Gold    Silver    Bronze Home venue

Mediterranean Games

Lebanon's first participation at the Mediterranean Games was in 1959, when they hosted the event.[22] They lost both legs against Italy B and Turkey B, finishing last with no points.[22] Lebanon's senior team participated two more times, in 1963 and 1987, failing to qualify past the group stage on both occasions.[176][177]

Lebanon's Mediterranean Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad Ref
Alexandria 1951 Did not participate
Barcelona 1955
Beirut 1959 Third place 3rd of 3 4 0 0 4 1 2 Squad [22]
Naples 1963 Group stage 7th of 9 4 1 0 3 2 7 Squad [176]
Tunis 1967 Did not participate
İzmir 1971
Algiers 1975
Split 1979
Casablanca 1983
Latakia 1987 Group stage 6th of 8 3 0 1 2 1 7 Squad [177]
1991–present
See Lebanon national under-20 football team
Total Best: third place 3/10 11 1 1 9 4 16
  Gold    Silver    Bronze Home venue

Other tournaments

Lebanon won their first tournament – albeit unofficial – at the 1964 Tripoli Fair Tournament; with three wins and one draw, Lebanon finished first in a group containing Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Malta.[27] In 1998 Lebanon participated at the Friendship Tournament in the United Arab Emirates where, with two draws and a defeat, they finished in third place out of four.[178] Lebanon also finished in third place at the 2009 King's Cup in Thailand where, after losing to the hosts in the semi-finals, they won against North Korea in the third-place match.[179]

Tournament Round Ref
1964 Tripoli Fair Tournament Champions [27]
1974 Kuneitra Cup Group stage [180]
1975 President's Cup Group stage [181]
1978 President's Cup Group stage [182]
1989 Peace and Friendship Cup Group stage [183]
1998 Friendship Tournament Third place [178]
2009 King's Cup Third place [179]
2009 Nehru Cup Group stage [184]
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place

Records and fixtures


Lebanon's highest winning margin is seven goals, which has been achieved on two occasions: against Pakistan in 2001 (8–1) and against Laos in 2015 (7–0). Their longest winning streak is six wins, and their unbeaten record is 16 consecutive official matches.[99]

The entire match record can be examined on the following articles:

Upcoming fixtures are listed on the 2020–present results page.

See also


Notes and references


Notes

  1. Arabic: المنتخب اللبناني لكرة القدم
    French: Équipe du Liban de football
  2. The FA's of Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and Israel are older.[2]
  3. Both Italian and Turkish sides were made up of amateur players.[22]
  4. Turkmenistan, Myanmar, and North Korea, respectively the lowest, third-lowest, and fourth-lowest-ranked teams in Asia,[55] did not take part in the preliminary round on account of having participated in the 2008 and 2010 AFC Challenge Cup, which acted as qualifying tournaments to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.[56] Only the Maldives and Lebanon, respectively the second-lowest and fifth-lowest ranked teams, were involved in the preliminary round.[57]

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