Lebanon national football team
|Association||الاتحاد اللبناني لكرة القدم
Lebanon Football Association
|Sub-confederation||WAFF (West Asia)|
|Head coach||Giuseppe Giannini|
|Most caps||Abbas Ahmed Atwi (54)|
|Top scorer||Wartan Ghazarian, Roda Antar (19)|
|Home stadium||Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
Saida International Stadium
|FIFA ranking||115 4 (14 August 2014)|
|Highest FIFA ranking||85 (December, 1998)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||178 (April, 2011)|
|Highest Elo ranking||70 (September 23, 1963)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||150 (March 3, 2010)|
| Palestine, British Mandate 5–1 Lebanon
(Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine; April 27, 1940)
| Lebanon 11–1 Philippines
(Tokyo, Japan; September 28, 1967)
| Iraq 8–0 Lebanon
(Baghdad, Iraq; November 25, 1959)
Qatar 8–0 Lebanon
(Doha, Qatar; March 27, 1985)
|AFC Asian Cup|
|Best result||Group Stage, 2000|
The Lebanese national football team (Arabic: لبنان الوطني لكرة القدم – French: Équipe du Liban de football) represents the Lebanese Republic in international association football competitions. Their official nickname is the "The Cedars". The team is controlled by Lebanon Football Association (LFA), which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and also the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF). They reached their highest placed FIFA ranking to 85th place in December in 1998. Lebanon's home stadium is the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut and the Saida International Stadium in Sidon. Lebanon has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup. In 2000, they hosted their confederation AFC Asian Cup where they finished in last place of their respective group. They have only participated once in 1998 at the Asian Games and where knocked out at the second round. They are regular participants at their sub-confederation WAFF Championship. Lebanon also participates in the UAFA Arab Nations Cup and hosted the 1963 tournament and finished in third place and claimed fourth place at the 1964 and 1966 editions. Lebanon claimed third places as hosts at the UAFA Pan Arab Games tournaments in 1957 and 1997 and managed fourth place at the 1961 edition.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early Years
- 1.2 International competitions
- 1.2.1 The beginning
- 1.2.2 Decline
- 1.2.3 Reform and first signs of success
- 1.2.4 "Golden generation"
- 2 Home Stadium
- 3 Records
- 4 Captains
- 5 Coaches
- 6 Coaching Staff
- 7 Kit suppliers
- 8 Results and Fixtures
- 9 Players
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
On April 27 in 1940, the Lebanon national football feam played their first international match against the Mandatory Palestine in which they lost 5–2. Since 1957, their home stadium's have been the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium and Saida International Stadium. In Lebanon's first attempt to qualify for a FIFA World Cup in 1994, they finished in third place of their respective group of five members having claimed four draws and two wins before losing twice to South Korea.
2000 AFC Asian Cup
Lebanon were hosts of the 2000 AFC Asian Cup. Under Croatian coach Josip Skoblar, Lebanon were drawn into Group A alongside Iran, Iraq and Thailand. On 12 October Lebanon faced Iran where they found themselves 1–0 down after a Karim Bagheri goal on 19 minutes. A Hamid Estili second-half double and another goal from Ali Daei secured a 4–0 win for Iran. On October 15 Lebanon faced Iraq in Beirut where Sabah Jaeer Khalaf scored two goals in 22 minutses for Iraq. Abbas Chahrour scored for Lebanon on 28 minutes before Moussa Hojeij equalized on 76 minutes for a 2–2 draw. On 18 October Lebanon went behind in their last group-stage fixture when Seksan Piturat scored for Thailand on 58 minutes. Luís Fernandez equalized for the home side on 83 minutes as the match resulted in a 1–1 draw.
2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign
Under German coach Theo Bücker Lebanon were drawn with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand in the first round of qualifiers. On 13 May 2001 at the Municipal Stadium in Beirut Lebanon defeated Pakistan 6–0. The result included hat-trick from Haitham Zein. On 15 May Lebanon hosted Sri Lanka where they would beat the visitors 4–0 with two goals from Roda Antar and one each from Moussa Hojeij and Mohammad Kassas. On 17 May Lebanon found themselves with a 1–0 lead after 9 minutes when Roda Antar netted for the home side. Seksan Piturat and Kiatisuk Senamuang would then both score for Thailand to give them a 2–1 win. With the next three fixtures staged in Bangkok Lebanon stormed to an 8–1 win against Pakistan with Wartan Ghazarian, Roda Antar and Gilberto dos Santos all scoring two goals each. Lebanon would then score five goals past Sri Lanka two days later on 28 May. On 30 May second placed Lebanon needed three points from their final group-stage fixture against first placed Thailand to advance to the second round. Lebanon took the lead on 35 minutes when Wartan Ghazarian scored. Lebanon held that lead until Thailand scored on 73 minutes and again on 77 minutes. Moussa Hojeij equalized for Lebanon on 87 minutes as the match finished 2–2.
2004 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Campaign
Under French coach Richard Tardy, Lebanon were drawn in Group D of the Asian Cup qualifiers. They faced Iran, Jordan and North Korea. On 4 September 2003 Lebanon faced North Korea in Pyongyang. A goal from Buddy Farah saw Lebanon defeat the home side 1–0. It was reported that prior to the Lebanon-North Korea fixture the Lebanese camp had been mis-treated as hotel conditions were very poor and their training field contained goats and sheep. Lebanon were defeated by Jordan on 17 October before drawing 1–1 with North Korea in Lebanon on 3 November. Lebanon then went on to lose their next three games, a 2–0 defeat to Jordan on 12 November, a 3–0 home defeat to Iran on 19 November and a 1–0 away defeat in Iran saw Lebanon finish in third place of their respective group having only claimed four points.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign
Lebanon were drawn into the second round of qualifiers where they were grouped with South Korea, Vietnam and Maldives. Coach Mahmoud Hamoud took with him a team of domestic based players to Suwon where Lebanon faced South Korea on 18 February 2004. Lebanon were without captain Roda Antar for the fixture. Lebanon could have taken the lead on 30 minutes where they had won a penalty, however, Lee Woon-Jae saved the spot kick. Goals from Cha Du-Ri and Cho Byung-Kuk gave South Korea a 2–0 win. Lebanon then faced Vietnam in Nam Dinh on 31 March with two late second-half goals from Roda Antar and Khaled Hamieh on 83 and 88 minutes sealed a 2–0 victory. On 9 June Lebanon faced Maldives at the Municipal Stadium in Beirut. Both Haitham Zein and Roda Antar scored in the 3–0 win before 81st minute substitute Ali Nasseredine added the third just twelve minutes after entering the field. On 8 September Lebanon played the return-leg against Malvides at the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium in Malé. Ali Nasseredine opening the scoring after four minutes, then Faisal Antar would also score to give Lebanon a 2–0 half-time lead. Another goal from Nasseredine and two from Mahmoud Chahoud and Roda Antar brought the score-line to 5–0 before Maldives grabbed two late goals to finish the game at 5–2. On 13 October Lebanon hosted South Korea in Beirut. Second placed Lebanon had gained 9 points going into their second last game where as South Korea, who were on top of the group, had gained 10 points. South Korea defender Choi Jin-Cheul scored on 8 minutes. On 28 minutes a back pass played to South Korea's Lee Woon-Jae was fumbled allowing Ali Nasseredine to equalize by passing the ball into an un-guarded net. The 1–1 draw was insufficient for Lebanon to proceed to the third round when on the last day of the qualifiers Lebanon drew 0–0 with Vietnam in Beirut as South Korea would beat Maldives 2–0 in Seoul to progress to the next round.
2007 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Campaign
Lebanon were drawn into Group D for the 2007 Asian Cup qualifying campaign with Australia, Bahrain and Kuwait. The scheduled meeting of Australia and Lebanon made Buddy Farah declare to return to the national side. On 22 February 2006 Lebanon hosted Kuwait at Beirut's Municipal Stadium. On 25 minutes Kuwait's Fahad Al Fahad opened the scoring for the visitors before Ali Nasseredine headed into the net from a set-piece to level the scores on 70 minutes. Prior to Lebanon's fixture with Bahrain on 16 August 2006, it was announced on 1 August that the AFC had accepted a withdrawal request from the Federation Libanaise de Football due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, which forced several players to leave their homes to evade the war. The results of the Lebanon-Kuwait game were declared null and void and did not count towards the group rankings.
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign
Note: The positions of Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia are reversed from the original final standings after two matches were forfeited by Singapore and became 3 – 0 defeats as a result of them fielding an ineligible player.
Lebanon were seeded into the first round of qualifiers were they faced India in a bid to qualify directly for the third round of qualifiers. On 8 October 2007 Lebanon hosted India in Saida. After a 30 minute goal from India's Sunil Chhetri, goals from Roda Antar, Mahmoud El Ali and two from Mohammed Ghaddar helped Lebanon to a 4–1 win. Ghaddar would score another two goals in the return-leg as both sides drew 2–2 in Goa on 30 October. Lebanon won 6–3 on aggregate and advanced to the third round. The campaign saw the absence of defender Youssef Mohamad who reportedly had a disagreement with Lebanon's assistant coach Adnan Meckdache where he had intensely criticized the Lebanese Football Federation and the national team coach. He was suspended by the Football Federation and would be allowed to return on the condition that he would apologize to the Lebanese F.A and its national team coach for the critical stance. Lebanon were then grouped with Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Uzbekistan. On 6 February 2008 Lebanon were defeated 1–0 by Uzbekistan in Beirut as Uzbek striker Odil Ahmedov had put the visitors in front on 44 minutes. Lebanon then went on to lose 2–0 to Singapore on 26 March and 4–1 to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on 2 June, having been 1–0 in front after Mahmoud El Ali scored on 43 minutes. Lebanon's following fixture with Saudi Arabia was moved from Beirut to Riyadh where on 7 June Saudi Arabia would narrowly win 2–1 with two goals in each half from Saudi striker Redha Tukar before Mohammed Ghaddar grabbed a consolation goal on 93 minutes. Having been already eliminated from the third-round, Lebanon were defeated 3–0 by Uzbekistan in Tashkent on 14 June. On 22 June at Beirut's Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium Lebanon took a 1–0 lead when Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan netted an Own goal. Lebanon's Ramez Dayoub scored an own goal at the other end on 72 minutes before John Wilkinson gave the visitors a 2–1 victory.
2011 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Campaign
Lebanon and Maldives, the two lowest ranked AFC teams, played home-and-away matches in the preliminary round in April 2008 where the winner would proceed to the next round of qualifiers. On 9 April Lebanon cruised to a 4–0 home win with goals coming from Mahmoud El Ali, Ali Yaacoub, Abbas Ahmed Atwi and Mohammed Ghaddar all in the first half. In the return-leg goals from Mohamad Korhani and Nasrat Al Jamal helped Lebanon to a 2–1 win at the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium in Malé on 23 April. Lebanon were then drawn into Group D of the qualifiers along with China, Syria and Vietnam. On 14 January 2009 Lebanon were defeated 3–1 to Vietnam in Hanoi. Lebanon went on to face three consecutive defeats without scoring a single goal, having lost 2–0 to Syria on 28 January, 2–0 to China in Beirut on 14 November and 1–0 again to China in Hangzhou on 22 November. With two group-stage fixtures remaining, Lebanon hosted Vietnam at the International Stadium in Saida on 6 January 2010. Mahmoud El Ali opened the scoring for Lebanon on 20 minutes before Pham Thanh Luong equalized on 40 minutes. The match resulted in a 1–1 draw. In Lebanon's last group-stage match they travelled to Damascus where they faced a 4–0 defeat by Syria at the Abbasiyyin Stadium on 3 March.
Reform and first signs of success
2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign
Under coach Emile Rustom, who was re-appointed as head coach of the national team on 5 May 2011, Lebanon were drawn into the second round of qualifiers where they faced Bangladesh. Lebanon defeated Bangladesh 4–0 in Beirut on 23 July before losing 2–0 in Dhaka five days later. Lebanon advanced to the third round of qualifiers where they were grouped with South Korea, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, just under one week later Emile Rustom resigned as head coach, citing obstacles such as internal administrative problems as the reason for his departure.
On 8 August 2011 it was reported that Theo Bücker was announced as Lebanon's new head coach. The former national team manager took over the reigns nine years after leaving the position, bringing with him the intention of looking to "showcase Lebanese talent and give a good account of the game in the country."
Prior to Lebanon's opening fixture against South Korea, it was reported by Lebanese website sports-leb.com that Youssef Mohamad had traveled to Goyang to join the squad for the match and that Roda Antar was to miss the first game of the qualifiers but would be included in the match against the UAE in Beirut on September 6 On match-day-1, three goals from Park Chu-Young saw South Korea defeat Lebanon 6–0 at the Goyang Stadium. Lebanon had rarely threatened and were reduced mainly to speculative attempts from long-distance. Theo Bucker stated that "More than coming here to win, we came to prepare for the next game," indicating that he was more concerned about getting a result against United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in order to progress to the next round.
Four days later, Lebanon came back from a goal down to beat the United Arab Emirates 3–1 on September 6. After UAE striker Mahmoud Khamees put the visitors in front after 15 minutes, Lebanon replied with goals from Mohammed Ghaddar, Akram Moghrabi and Roda Antar, who was awarded the man of the match.
Lebanon then hosted Kuwait in Beirut on 11 October, Hassan Maatouk scored after 15 minutes, giving Lebanon a 1–0 lead until the 50th minute, where Kuwait's Musaed Neda equalized with a header. With six minutes left to go, Kuwait's Hussain Fadel brought down Akram Moghrabi in the penalty area, Maatouk scored his second goal after converting the penalty to give Lebanon a 2–1 lead. However, Lebanon's Mahmoud Baquir Younes allowed the Kuwaitis to come away with a point after scoring into his own net only two minutes later. After the 2–2 draw, Bucker stated "If we had equalized in the last minute we would be happy". Approximately 32,000 spectators were present at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium, for the first time since 2005 when the Lebanese FA had barred fans from entering the stadiums due to bad behaviour. Bad behaviour from the fans, mostly related to playing with fireworks, was again the case against Kuwait as it forced Japanese referee Masaaki Toma into stopping the game on numerous occasions. Masaaki was forced to stop the game twice after a supporter shined a laser pen at the Kuwaiti goalkeeper. The halt in play that accumulated to around 10 minutes broke up Lebanon's rhythm where the Lebanese players looked tired after their break and momentum was lost. Masaaki called in his assistants to suspend play as the stadium's announcer and Lebanon's captain Roda Antar remonstrated with the fans. The game recommenced six minutes later before coming to a halt again, if only for two minutes as officials lambasted one another on the touchline, with nearly 70 minutes on the clock.
In November 15, 2011 Lebanon hosted South Korea at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut. Over 40,000 spectators were present to cheer for the Lebanese national team. After 4 minutes Lebanon took the lead by Ali Al Saadi, 11 minutes later Korea equalized the scoreline by a penalty kick. At the 30 minute of the match Lebanon was given a penalty kick after Mahmoud El Ali was tackled inside the penalty area. Lebanon then took the lead after Abbas Ali Atwi perfectly delivered the ball into the net from the penalty spot and giving Lebanon a 2–1 victory for the first time in history against South Korea.
On February 29 of 2012, Lebanon suffered a 4–2 loss to the United Arab Emirates in which Mahmoud El Ali and Hassan Maatouk netted for the visitors. Despite the defeat, they made it for the first time in their history to the fourth and final qualifying round.
Prior to the fourth round of qualifiers, Theo Bucker dismissed speculation which claimed that he would be sacked as coach of the Cedars, despite leading the side to a historic fourth-round place in the qualifiers. Bucker was criticized for his decision to select Europe-based keeper Abbas Hassan, who made an error against UAE in Lebanon's last third-round match, ahead of regular Ziad Al-Samad. "The president has all the understanding with me and agrees with me 100 percent that now based on the achievements of the last six months we should find for Lebanon football the right system of going forward, of implementing a different system". Bucker also revealed he had been approached by many other parties with job offers, but refused because of his love to Lebanon and its people, and his faith in Lebanese football. Lebanon was drawn in Group 1 of the Fourth Round along with: Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Qatar. On the first match, they lost 0–1 against Qatar at home by Sebastian Soria's goal by Ramez Dayoub's mistake. Ramez Dayoub later was blamed for Lebanon's defeat and sometimes he was suspected to be sold by Qatar.
In their second match against Uzbekistan, the team managed to get a point out of the game after a 1–1 draw, Ali Al Saadi scoring for Lebanon from a free kick. On 12 June, they travel to Goyang once again, and lost 0–3 against the host South Korea again.
A first-half Roda Antar goal gave Lebanon a 1-0 win over Iran in a World Cup qualifier in Beirut Tuesday, to keep The Cedars' faint hopes of scrapping through to Brazil in 2014.
Antar rose above the Iranian defense to head home a free kick from Mohammad Haidar in the 28th minute, giving Lebanon its first goal ever in against Iran. It proved to be the winner as Lebanon defended well for the rest of the game to deny the Iranians and claim all three points in the Asian Group A.
Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan, selected and promoted by German goalkeeper coach Christian Schweichler and coach Theo Bücker, was in inspired form throughout the 90 minutes, produced a string of fine acrobatic saves in the closing stages as Iran threw everything forward. The headband-wearing goalkeeper, who was shown a yellow card for time-wasting, even produced a 95th-minute excellent stop from Mohammad Ghazi's strong header.
The Iranians dominated possession in the second half and Mohammad Nori almost drew his team level when his header was just cleared off the Lebanon goal line in the 62nd minute.
On 26 February 2013, national team players Ramez Dayoub and Mahmoud El Ali were involved in the 2013 Lebanese match fixing scandal and had been accused of illegal betting on several national and continental matches concerning Lebanese teams and the national team and manipulating results. Both players received a fine of USD$15,000 and were banned for life from the Fédération Libanaise de Football Association.
The Lebanese dream was nearly over after a dramatic loss to Uzbekistan 0-1 at road. The following match witnessed a possible comeback for the Lebanese side, as they hosted South Korea in Beirut, and they were leading 1-0 until a shocking equalizer from the visitors in the 97th minute. At that moment, Lebanon was officially out. They lost 0-4 in their last Match in Iran, where Bucker selected a starting line-up based on new faces.
2015 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Campaign
Lebanon trying to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup were drawn into group B with Iran, Thailand, and Kuwait. Lebanon lost their first match with Iran in Tehran ended in a 5-0 loss. However they reached redemption by defeating Thailand 5-2 in Beirut with 2 goals from Hassan Chaito and goals from Mohamad Haidar, Hassan Maatouk, and Abbas Ali Atwi. In matchday 3, Mohammad Ghaddar scored the equalizer against Kuwait in Beirut to earn a point for Lebanon who are still fighting for a place in Australia. It was the first official match for the new Italian coach Giannini, as he showed his great tactical touches in the second half that was totally dominated by his side. On Match day 4 Lebanon once again faced Kuwait which also ended in a draw for them. On the next match day, Lebanon suffered a crushing defeat to Iran, losing 4-1 in Beirut, leaving the team with faint hopes of getting a place in Australia. In their final game against Thailand, Lebanon again defeated them 5-2 in Bangkok, however, Iraq had beaten China 3-1. So although Lebanon and China had the same points, China had a higher goal difference than Lebanon by one goal, meaning China would go to Australia as the best third placed team, and Lebanon not getting a place in Australia. But still, the Lebanese considered that was one of their greatest results in the Lebanon's history. Some people considered the current Lebanese national team had the same like Bosnian team due to Bosnia was so close to qualify to 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 (losing to Portugal both).
Starting from 2014, since their miss to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, the Lebanese Football Federation had decided to reform their national team, to create "a Belgium model" like the Belgium national football team had done before, especially during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. By inviting new players from the other nations which had a large Lebanese community from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, France,... and more, they are hoping for a new beginning of Lebanon's football, since this was becoming popular in Lebanon. Thus, despite it is just the beginning, but the appearance of so many Lebanese players in other countries like Faryd Mondragón (Colombia), Miguel Layún (Mexico); or legendary players and managers such as Pierre Issa (South Africa), Mário Zagallo (Brazil), Ahmad Elrich (Australia),... are sending the inspiration to Lebanese people in football. Famous coaches and players were invited, as for the reformation of the national team of Lebanon. The Lebanese Gov. and Football Association believed that one day Lebanon would create a "Greek shock" just like the UEFA Euro 2004. Also, they hired Italy and A.S. Roma's legend Giuseppe Giannini to be coach for Lebanon team from Roberto Mancini's agency.
Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
Main article: Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium
Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium (Arabic: ملعب مدينة كميل شمعون الرياضية) is a 47,799 capacity multi-purpose stadium in the Bir Hassan area of Beirut, Lebanon. It is Lebanon's largest stadium. The Sports City Stadium is currently used mostly for football matches and it also has athletics facilities. It was built in 1957 by the Lebanese Ministry of Youth & Fine Arts in the presidency of Camille Chamoun. It is the home of the Lebanon national football team. The stadium was the main venue for the 2000 AFC Asian Cup and the sixth edition of the Jeux de la Francophonie held in 2009.
Saida International Stadium
Main article: Saida International Stadium
Saida International Stadium (Arabic: إستاد صيدا الدولي) is a 22,600 capacity multi-purpose stadium in Saida (Sidon, Zidon), Lebanon. The stadium was built on the expanded grounds of the old Saida Municipal Stadium, as one of the venues to host matches during the 2000 AFC Asian Cup that was held in Lebanon. It is currently mostly used for local and international football matches. The stadium also has athletics facilities. The stadium is located at the main northern entrance of the city. Saida International Stadium, built over the sea, is the closest stadium to the sea in the world.
FIFA World Cup
AFC Asian Cup
Results and Fixtures
Main article: Lebanon national football team results
Recent and Forthcoming Matches in 2014
Win Draw Loss
The following players have been called up for the Lebanon squad within the last twelve months.
Notable and foreign players
The following players were born outside of Lebanon but chose to represent Lebanon's national teams upon eligibility: