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Lebanon national football team

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Lebanon
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)رجال الأرز
(The Cedars)
AssociationLebanese Football Association
(الاتحاد اللبناني لكرة القدم)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationWAFF (West Asia)
Head coachLiviu Ciobotariu
CaptainHassan Maatouk
Most capsAbbas Atwi (84)
Top scorerRoda Antar
Hassan Maatouk (20)
Home stadiumVarious
FIFA codeLIB
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 87 Decrease 1 (25 July 2019)[1]
Highest77 (September 2018)
Lowest178 (April – May 2011)
Elo ranking
Current 101 Decrease 8 (20 August 2019)[2]
Highest46 (27 April 1940)
Lowest164 (28 July 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
Appearances2 (first in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage (2000, 2019)
WAFF Championship
Appearances7 (first in 2000)
Best resultGroup stage (7 times)

The Lebanese national football team,[a] controlled by the Lebanese Football Association (LFA), has 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 is yet to qualify for the World Cup, they have participated twice in the Asian Cup: in 2000, when they hosted the event, and in 2019, the first time through regular qualification. 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 1934, Lebanon played their first match against the Romanian side T.A.C., but was not ratified by FIFA. Lebanon's first FIFA-recognized game, however, was played in 1940 against Mandatory Palestine. During their 2014 qualification campaign for the World Cup, Lebanon reached the fourth round of qualifying for the first time thanks to a 2–1 victory against South Korea at home in 2011, but failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by finishing bottom of that group. At the 2019 Asian Cup, Lebanon were close to qualifying to the knock-out stages for the first time. However, they lost out to Vietnam in the third-place ranking on the fair play rule and were knocked out of the competition. Lebanon also competes in the WAFF Championship, the Arab Nations Cup and the Pan Arab Games. They have finished third once at the Arab Nations Cup and twice at the Pan Arab Games, in all three occasions as hosts.

Inspired by their national symbol, the Lebanese team is known as "the Cedars" (رجال الأرز) by fans and media. Their home kit is primarily red and their away kit white, in reference to their national flag. After a steady decrease 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 15-game unbeaten streak,[b] from 24 March 2016 to 11 October 2018, in which Lebanon won eight games and drew seven.

History[edit]

1933–1957: The beginning[edit]

Old photo of a smiling Nassif Majdalani
Nassif Majdalani, who helped found the team.

On 22 March 1933, representatives of thirteen associations gathered in the city of Mina Al Hosn to form the Lebanese Football Association,[3][4] with Lebanese journalist Nassif Majdalani helping in its formation.[5] It joined FIFA in 1935 and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1964.[4][6]

On 27 January 1934, Beirut's International team lost to the varsity team of the American University of Beirut (AUB) 5–1.[7] The following month, a Beirut team composed of AUB varsity and Renaissance athletes played two matches against the Romanian side T.A.C. at home.[8][5] The first match, on 18 February at the Edmond Rubeiz Field, ended in a 1–9 defeat; the second, played two days later at the University Field, was a 1–4 loss.[9] The unofficial matches are regarded as the national team's first.[10] The All-Beirut Team lost again to T.A.C. on 21 November 1935 at the Varsity Field.[11]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg

Sayad
Yeguiché
Sacre
Barbir
Guiragos
Falah
Jaroudi
Jerard
Kamil
Nercesse
Oxen
Lebanon's starting line-up in their first official international match against Mandatory Palestine

Beirut XI, representing Lebanon, played its first game against Syria (Damascus XI) in 1939 at the Habib Abou Chahla Stadium; the match ended in a 4–5 loss.[5] The team played 17 unofficial games against Damascus XI until 1963, winning nine, drawing two and losing six.[5] The national team's first official FIFA game was a 5–1 loss to Mandatory Palestine on 27 April 1940,[12] with Kamil scoring Lebanon's first official international goal.[13] In 1944, Lebanon lost to an unofficial Iraq national team representing Iraq's Ministry of Education and coached by George Raynor.[5]

During the 1950s, Lebanon was coached by Vinzenz Dittrich[14] and Ljubiša Broćić.[15] The side played three official games, only managing one draw, against Syria in 1953.[12] The team also played unofficial games against top-level European clubs such as Dynamo Moscow, Leipzig and Spartak Trnava in 1957.[5] Lebanon played Energia Flacara Ploiesti the same year in the opening game of the Sports City Stadium. The match ended 1–0 to Lebanon thanks to a Joseph Abou Murad goal.[16]

1957–1979: Early history[edit]

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.[17] 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 Abu Murad and Mardek Chabarian and one goal each by Robert Shehada and Levon Altonian; this placed them first in their group. In the semifinals, Lebanon lost 4–2 to Tunisia. They finished in third place, however, since Morocco withdrew from the third-place match.[17]

In 1958, Joseph Nalbandian was appointed coach of the national team.[18] He was one of Lebanon's most successful coaches, winning eight of 22 official matches during his 11-year tenure. Under Nalbadian, Lebanon hosted the 1959 Mediterranean Games and were grouped with Italy B and Turkey B.[c] They finished last in the group, after four losses to the two European teams.[19]

Eleven Lebanese football players posing for a photo prior to a football match
Lebanon at the 1966 Arab Nations Cup.

In 1963 Lebanon hosted the inaugural edition of the Arab Cup, and were grouped with Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait and Jordan.[20] They won their first match against Kuwait 6–0, thanks to a hat trick by captain Levon Altonian. This tied Lebanon's biggest win to date, a 7–1 victory against Saudi Arabia in 1961.[21] After another win (against Jordan) and two losses (to Syria and Tunisia), Lebanon finished third in the tournament. In the following edition, in 1966, Lebanon was drawn with Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain in Group A. After three wins and a draw, they qualified to the semi-finals against Syria, where they lost 1–0. In the third-place match Lebanon lost 6–1 to Libya, finishing the competition in fourth place.[22]

Their first Asian Cup qualifying campaign was in 1971, coached by Joseph Abou Murad.[18] In the first round they lost to host Kuwait 0–1, but defeated traditional rival Syria 3–2 to qualify for the next round. In a decisive semi-final match against Iraq, Lebanon lost 1–4 and was eliminated.[23] Despite the country's civil war, Lebanon appeared in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers held in Abu Dhabi; however, they lost to Syria and were eliminated.[24]

1993–2004: Post-Civil War[edit]

Exterior of destroyed stadium
Camille Chamoun Stadium in 1982; it was destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War.

Lebanon's first official World Cup qualification after the war was in 1993, with Adnan Al-Shargi their coach.[25] After two wins, two losses and four draws, Lebanon finished third in its group and was eliminated.[26] Under Terry Yorath the team's first foreign manager since the war, Lebanon began its first post-war campaign to qualify for the 1996 AFC Asian Cup. Despite winning twice against Turkmenistan and losing only once (at home, against Kuwait), Lebanon was eliminated from the competition with a one-point difference with Kuwait (the group leaders).[27]

Lebanon drew into a group which included Kuwait and Singapore in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Led by Yorath, the Cedars were eliminated with only four points.[28] The Welsh manager was one of the team's most successful managers, however, winning 13 out of 27 official matches during his two-year tenure.[21]

Lebanon's starting line-up against Iran at the 2000 AFC Asian Cup

Lebanon hosted the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, despite FIFA concerns about stadium conditions.[29] Under Croatian coach Josip Skoblar,[30] Lebanon, captained by Jamal Taha,[31] drew into Group A with Iran, Iraq and Thailand. Lebanon played their first Asian Cup game against Iran on 12 October 2000 at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium with 52,418 spectators. 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 0–4 defeat. In the second match, against Iraq, two goals in the first 22 minutes gave the opposing team a comfortable lead. However, an Abbas Chahrour goal in the 28th minute, Lebanon's first in the competition, and a goal by Moussa Hojeij in the 76th minute gave Lebanon their first point of the competition. Lebanon played Thailand in the final group stage match. With the opposing team gaining the lead at the 58th minute, Luís Fernandez equalized for Lebanon to end the match 1–1. However, the point was not enough as they finished last in the group, with only two points.[32]

Managed by Theo Bücker, Lebanon drew with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand in the first round of the 2002 World Cup qualifications. The team, with good offense from Roda Antar, Haitham Zein, Wartan Ghazarian and Gilberto dos Santos, finished second in their group with 26 goals in six games (the most in their group).[33]

Under Richard Tardy,[34] Lebanon drew into Group D of the 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.[35] Before the Lebanon-North Korea match, the Lebanese team was reportedly ill-treated; hotel conditions were poor, and their training field contained goats and sheep.[36] Lebanon finished third in their group, with four points.[35] For the second round of the qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup, Lebanon were grouped with South Korea, Vietnam and Maldives. Under Mahmoud Hamoud, they finished second in their group and were eliminated.[37]

2006–2014: Failed qualifications and match-fixing[edit]

Lebanon drew into Group D for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign with Australia, Bahrain and Kuwait.[38] The scheduled meeting of Australia and Lebanon made Buddy Farah, an Australian player of Lebanese descent, declare his return to the Lebanese national side.[39] Before Lebanon's match with Bahrain on 16 August 2006, 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.[40][41] 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. Lebanon won 6–3 on aggregate and advanced to the third round, with two goals by Mohammed Ghaddar in the second match.[42] Lebanon, grouped with Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Uzbekistan, finished last with no points.[43]

In April 2008, Lebanon and the Maldives (the two lowest-ranked teams)[d][44] played home-and-away matches in the preliminary round of the 2011 Asian Cup; the winner would proceed to the next round. A 4–0 home win and a 2–1 victory in the away match advanced Lebanon to the qualifying round.[45][46] They drew into Group D with China, Syria and Vietnam, finishing last.[47] Emile Rustom, re-appointed as head coach, led Lebanon into the second round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. They faced Bangladesh, winning 4–0 in Beirut on 23 July and losing 2–0 in Dhaka five days later.[48][49] Lebanon advanced to the AFC third round, where they were grouped with South Korea, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Rustom resigned less than a week later, citing internal administrative problems.[50][51][52]

On 4 August 2011, it was reported that Theo Bücker was Lebanon's new head coach.[53] The former national-team manager took the reins nine years after leaving that position, intending to "showcase Lebanese talent and give a good account of the country in the game."[54] On 6 September, Lebanon came back from one goal down to defeat the United Arab Emirates 3–1 in the Asian Cup qualifications; striker Mahmoud Khamees put the visitors in front after 15 minutes, Lebanon replied with goals from Mohammed Ghaddar, Akram Moghrabi and Roda Antar; Antar was named man of the match.[55][56][57]

They then lost 3–1 to Kuwait in Beirut on 11 October 2011;[58][59][60] 32,000 spectators were at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium for the first time since 2005, when the LFA barred fans from the stadiums due to behavioural issues.[61] Bad fan behaviour (mainly fireworks-related) was again a problem against Kuwait, forcing referee Masaaki Toma to stop the game several times.[62] A month later, Lebanon defeated Kuwait 1–0 on a 57th-minute goal by Mahmoud El Ali at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Kuwait City;[63] it was Kuwait's first home loss to Lebanon.[64] On 15 November, Lebanon hosted South Korea at Beirut's Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium before over 40,000 spectators.[65] After four minutes, Lebanon took the lead on a goal by Ali Al Saadi. Eleven minutes later, Korea tied the score with a penalty kick. In the 30th minute, Lebanon received a penalty kick after Mahmoud El Ali was tackled inside the penalty area; Abbas Ali Atwi scored, giving Lebanon a 2–1 victory. Lebanon's first-ever win against South Korea qualified them for the fourth (and final) qualifying round for the first time.[66]

Roda Antar with another player and four officials
Roda Antar (right) was Lebanon's captain against Iran in 2013.

They drew into Group A of the round, with South Korea, Uzbekistan, Iran and Qatar.[67] Against Iran, a first-half Roda Antar goal gave Lebanon the lead in a match they were required to win to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Antar rose above the Iranian defense to head home a free kick from Mohammad Haidar in the 28th minute. They held onto the lead, and won 1–0.[68] 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.[69] The players were fined $15,000 and banned for life from the Lebanon Football Association.[70] The Lebanese team then lost to Uzbekistan 0–1 on the road.[71] In the following match they hosted South Korea in Beirut and led 1–0 until South Korea scored the equalizer in the 97th minute, eliminating Lebanon.[72]

The team drew into group B with Iran, Thailand and Kuwait for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifications,[73] during which Giuseppe Giannini replaced Theo Bucker as head coach.[74] During Giannini's first game, on match day three, Mohammad Ghaddar scored the equalizer against Kuwait in Beirut to earn a point for Lebanon.[75] At the end of the qualifications, Lebanon and China were tied for third place; China had a better goal difference, however, and went to Australia.[73]

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).[76] 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.[76] 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. Maatouk scored a goal which would have given Lebanon a 3–1 lead, but the goal was incorrectly ruled offside; Brazil's equalizing goal was erroneously ruled onside.[77][78] The match excited the Lebanese people, despite poor refereeing.[77] After Lebanon's 0–5 loss to Qatar a month later,[79] Giuseppe Giannini was fired.[80]

2015–present: Radulović and Ciobotariu period[edit]

Miodrag Radulović shouting during a football game
Radulović coached Lebanon between 2015 and 2019.

Miodrag Radulović was appointed the team's new coach in 2015,[81] and led Lebanon in the 2018 World Cup qualifications.[82] The team drew into a group including Asia's runners-up South Korea, Kuwait, Myanmar and Laos,[83] 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 played in the 2019 Asian Cup qualification third round.[84]

The Asian Cup draw put Lebanon in Group B, with North Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia.[85] 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).[86] Hassan Maatouk (who succeeded Roda Antar as captain in 2016)[87] was key to Lebanon's success, scoring five goals in six games.[88] Lebanon fielded a number of players of Lebanese origin who were born and raised in other countries during the qualifications, including Hilal El-Helwe, Joan Oumari and Omar Bugiel from Germany; Soony Saad from the United States;[89] Samir Ayass from Bulgaria, and Adnan Haidar from Norway.[90]

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;[84] he was the first Montenegrin manager to help a team qualify for a major tournament. Radulović managed a 15-game unbeaten streak[b] (from 24 March 2016 to 11 October 2018),[91][92] winning eight and drawing seven.[21] In September 2018, Lebanon achieved their best-ever FIFA ranking (77th).[93]

Hassan Maatouk and a Saudi player running while looking in the same direction
Lebanon during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group stage match against Saudi Arabia.
Lebanon's starting line-up against North Korea at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup

On 9 January 2019, Lebanon started their 2019 Asian Cup campaign with a 0–2 loss against Qatar.[94] In the 37th minute, Ali Hamam scored a goal for Lebanon from a corner, only for it to be disallowed for a dubious foul.[95][96] Two goals by Qatar in the second half secured all three points for the opposing team.[97] Three days later, Lebanon played their second match of the tournament against Saudi Arabia. Two goals without reply sentenced Lebanon to their second defeat of the tournament.[98]

In the final group stage game against North Korea, played on 17 January, Lebanon needed a win by four goals to pass to the knock-out stages. Lebanon conceded an early free-kick goal, before leveling the score in the first half through a goal by Felix Melki. Lebanon took the lead in the second half after Hilal El-Helwe scored from close range. Fifteen minutes later Maatouk converted a penalty kick, becoming Lebanon's joint top-scorer.[99] A fourth goal for Lebanon came in the seventh minute of added time, with El-Helwe scoring his second volley of the match, ending the encounter 1–4 and giving Lebanon their first ever Asian Cup win. However, they lost out to Vietnam in the third-place ranking on the fair play rule due to having received seven yellow cards against the five by Vietnam, and were knocked out of the competition.[100]

On 26 March 2019, the LFA announced that they would not renew Radulović's contract, terminating on 1 May 2019, and that they would be looking to replace him with another foreign coach in view of the qualifications for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.[101] Indeed, on 3 June 2019, Liviu Ciobotariu was appointed head coach of the national team.[102] His first games took place at the 2019 WAFF Championship, where Lebanon were drawn with hosts Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Yemen. After a 1–0 defeat to Iraq in the opening match of the tournament,[103] Lebanon won 2–1 against Syria thanks to a long-distance shot by Nader Matar and a 91st minute goal by Moni.[104] However, a 0–0 draw to Palestine and a 2–1 defeat to Yemen weren't enough to reach the final.[105][106]

On 17 July 2019, for the 2022 World Cup qualification second round, Lebanon were drawn with South Korea, for the third time in a row, North Korea, who Lebanon had faced in both the qualifications and final stage of the 2019 Asian Cup, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka.[107]

Kits[edit]

Joseph Abou Murad wearing a red Lebanese jersey with a green cedar in the center inside a white horizontal band
Red Lebanon shirt with white collar and details
Lebanon's kit in 1966 (left) and 2019 (right).

During their first unofficial match in 1934, Lebanon wore a white shirt 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.[10] The national team traditionally wears red as their primary colour and white as their secondary colour.[108] The choices originate from the national flag of Lebanon (red, white and green); green is typically reserved for the goalkeeper. At home, Lebanon usually wears a red shirt, shorts and socks (with white or gold details); the away kit colours are the inverse of the home kit, with a white outfit accompanied by red (or gold) details.

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. In the 2019 campaign, Lebanon wore a red kit (manufactured by Capelli Sport) with white details and a white collar. The Lebanese cedar, the country's national symbol, is present under the team logo in a darker shade of red. Since 2015 the team kit has been manufactured by Capelli Sport,[109] a sports brand founded by Lebanese-born entrepreneur George Altirs.[110] Previous manufacturers include Diadora and Adidas.[111][112]

Lebanon is known as "the Cedars" (رجال الأرز) by fans and the media, since the cedar tree is the country's national symbol.[113][114][115]

Home stadium[edit]

The Lebanese national team plays their home games in various stadiums throughout the country.

The main venue for Lebanon is the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Built in 1957 during the presidency of Camille Chamoun, it is the country's largest stadium holding a total of 49,500 seats.[116] Its opening game was in 1957, when the national team played Energia Flacara Ploiesti and won 1–0 thanks to a Joseph Abou Murad goal.[16] It was the main stadium to host the 2000 Asian Cup held in Lebanon, with six matches being played in the stadium including the opening match and the final.[117][118] In 2011 the stadium hosted the famed 2–1 victory against South Korea in the 2014 World Cup qualification, sending Lebanon to the fourth round of qualification for the first time. Over 40,000 spectators were present to watch the match.[65]

The national team, however, also plays in other stadiums such as the Saida International Stadium located in Sidon. Built over the sea, the stadium holds 22,600 people[119] and was one of the venues to host the 2000 Asian Cup.[120] Other stadiums in which the national team plays include the Tripoli Municipal Stadium and the Beirut Municipal Stadium.

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

The following 23 players were called up for the 2019 WAFF Championship.[121]
Caps, goals and player numbers are correct as of 8 August 2019 after the match against Yemen.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Mehdi Khalil (1991-09-19) 19 September 1991 (age 27) 36 0 Lebanon Ahed
21 1GK Mostafa Matar (1995-09-10) 10 September 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Lebanon Salam Zgharta
23 1GK Ali Daher (1996-11-26) 26 November 1996 (age 22) 0 0 Lebanon Shabab Sahel

2 2DF Kassem El Zein (1990-12-02) 2 December 1990 (age 28) 15 0 Lebanon Nejmeh
3 2DF Mootaz Jounaidi (1986-01-20) 20 January 1986 (age 33) 47 0 Lebanon Ansar
4 2DF Nour Mansour (1989-10-22) 22 October 1989 (age 29) 47 2 Lebanon Ahed
5 2DF Khalil Khamis (1995-01-12) 12 January 1995 (age 24) 2 0 Lebanon Ahed
6 2DF Hussein El Zein (1995-01-27) 27 January 1995 (age 24) 3 0 Lebanon Ahed
12 2DF Hassan Bitar (1992-05-18) 18 May 1992 (age 27) 0 0 Lebanon Ansar
16 2DF Shibriko (1991-06-16) 16 June 1991 (age 28) 4 0 Lebanon Ansar
17 2DF Mohamed Zein Tahan (1988-04-20) 20 April 1988 (age 31) 32 1 Lebanon Safa

10 3MF Mohamad Haidar (1989-11-08) 8 November 1989 (age 29) 60 4 Lebanon Ahed
14 3MF Nader Matar (1992-05-12) 12 May 1992 (age 27) 32 1 Lebanon Nejmeh
15 3MF Yahya El Hindi (1998-09-24) 24 September 1998 (age 20) 2 0 Unattached
18 3MF Hussein Monzer (1997-03-20) 20 March 1997 (age 22) 4 0 Lebanon Ahed
22 3MF Ahmad Jalloul (1992-01-23) 23 January 1992 (age 27) 14 0 Lebanon Nejmeh

7 4FW Hassan Maatouk (captain) (1987-08-10) 10 August 1987 (age 32) 79 20 Lebanon Ansar
8 4FW Moni (1989-03-20) 20 March 1989 (age 30) 54 6 Lebanon Ansar
9 4FW Soony Saad (1992-08-17) 17 August 1992 (age 27) 14 3 Lebanon Ansar
11 4FW Mohamad Kdouh (1997-07-10) 10 July 1997 (age 22) 3 1 Lebanon Ahed
13 4FW Ahmad Hijazi (1994-08-22) 22 August 1994 (age 25) 1 0 Lebanon Ahed
19 4FW Ali Alaaeddine (1993-09-08) 8 September 1993 (age 25) 1 0 Lebanon Nejmeh
20 4FW Rabih Ataya (1989-07-16) 16 July 1989 (age 30) 30 4 Lebanon Ahed

Recent call-ups[edit]

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 INJ (1994-06-24) 24 June 1994 (age 25) 1 0 Lebanon Nejmeh 2019 WAFF Championship
GK Ahmad Taktouk (1984-09-29) 29 September 1984 (age 34) 2 0 Lebanon Nejmeh 2019 AFC Asian Cup
GK Hadi Mortada OTH (1999-08-01) 1 August 1999 (age 20) 0 0 Lebanon Tadamon Sour 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE
GK Abbas Hassan INJ (1985-05-10) 10 May 1985 (age 34) 25 0 Lebanon Nejmeh v.  Australia, 20 November 2018
GK Mohamad Taha (1998-04-25) 25 April 1998 (age 21) 0 0 Lebanon Safa v.  Jordan, 9 September 2018

DF Walid Ismail RET (1984-11-10) 10 November 1984 (age 34) 65 1 Lebanon Bourj 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Ali Hamam (1986-08-25) 25 August 1986 (age 33) 52 3 Lebanon Nejmeh 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Joan Oumari OTH (1988-08-19) 19 August 1988 (age 31) 22 2 Japan Vissel Kobe 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Robert Alexander Melki OTH (1992-11-14) 14 November 1992 (age 26) 4 0 Qatar Al-Khor 2019 AFC Asian Cup
DF Nassar Nassar INJ (1992-01-01) 1 January 1992 (age 27) 11 0 Lebanon Ansar 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE

MF Haytham Faour RET (1990-02-27) 27 February 1990 (age 29) 58 0 Lebanon Ahed 2019 AFC Asian Cup
MF Adnan Haidar OTH (1989-08-03) 3 August 1989 (age 30) 31 1 Lebanon Ansar 2019 AFC Asian Cup
MF Samir Ayass (1990-12-24) 24 December 1990 (age 28) 11 1 Bulgaria Dunav Ruse 2019 AFC Asian Cup
MF George Felix Melki OTH (1994-07-23) 23 July 1994 (age 25) 4 1 Sweden AIK 2019 AFC Asian Cup
MF Bilal Najdi INJ (1993-11-26) 26 November 1993 (age 25) 2 0 Lebanon Akhaa Ahli Aley v.  Kuwait, 11 October 2018

FW Hilal El-Helwe OTH (1994-11-24) 24 November 1994 (age 24) 20 5 Germany SV Meppen 2019 AFC Asian Cup
FW Bassel Jradi OTH (1993-07-06) 6 July 1993 (age 26) 5 1 Croatia Hajduk Split 2019 AFC Asian Cup
FW Omar Chaaban Bugiel INJ (1994-01-03) 3 January 1994 (age 25) 5 1 England Sutton United 2019 AFC Asian Cup PRE
FW Edmond Chehade (1993-09-30) 30 September 1993 (age 25) 2 0 Lebanon Salam Zgharta v.  Kuwait, 11 October 2018

INJ0 Withdrew due to injury
SUS Serving suspension
RET Retired from international football
OTH Other reason
PRE Preliminary squad / standby

Competitive record[edit]

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

FIFA World Cup[edit]

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
Uruguay 1930 Part of  France Part of  France
Italy 1934
France 1938
Brazil 1950 Did not participate Did not participate
Switzerland 1954
Sweden 1958
Chile 1962
England 1966
Mexico 1970
West Germany 1974
Argentina 1978
Spain 1982
Mexico 1986
Italy 1990
United States 1994 Did not qualify 3rd of 5 8 2 4 2 8 9
France 1998 2nd of 3 4 1 1 2 4 7
South Korea Japan 2002 2nd of 4 6 4 1 1 26 5
Germany 2006 2nd of 4 6 3 2 1 11 5
South Africa 2010 First round win, 4th of 4 8 1 1 6 9 17
Brazil 2014 Second round win, 2nd of 4, 5th of 5 13 5 2 6 16 22
Russia 2018 2nd of 5 8 3 2 3 12 6
Qatar 2022 To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026 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[edit]

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
Hong Kong 1956 Did not participate Did not participate
South Korea 1960
Israel 1964
Iran 1968
Thailand 1972 Did not qualify 3rd of 7 5 2 0 3 6 10
Iran 1976 Withdrew Withdrew
Kuwait 1980 Did not qualify 3rd of 4 3 1 1 1 2 1
Singapore 1984 Withdrew Withdrew
Qatar 1988
Japan 1992
United Arab Emirates 1996 Did not qualify 2nd of 3 4 2 1 1 7 6
Lebanon 2000 Group stage 10th of 12 3 0 2 1 3 7 Squad Qualified as hosts
China 2004 Did not qualify 3rd of 4 6 1 1 4 2 8
Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Vietnam 2007 Withdrew Withdrew
Qatar 2011 Did not qualify 4th of 4 8 2 1 5 8 14
Australia 2015 3rd of 4 6 2 2 2 12 14
United Arab Emirates 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
China 2023 To be determined
Total Best: group stage 2/13 6 1 2 3 7 12 Total 45 17 9 19 61 62
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place/semi-finalists   Home venue

WAFF Championship[edit]

Lebanon's WAFF Championship record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad
Jordan 2000 Group stage 5th of 8 3 1 1 1 3 2 Squad
Syria 2002 5th of 6 2 0 0 2 0 3 Squad
Iran 2004 6th of 6 2 0 0 2 1 7 Squad
Jordan 2007 6th of 6 2 0 0 2 0 4 Squad
Iran 2008 Did not participate
Jordan 2010
Kuwait 2012 Group stage 9th of 12 3 1 0 2 2 3 Squad
Qatar 2014 8th of 9 2 0 1 1 0 2 Squad
Iraq 2019 n/a 4 1 1 2 3 4 Squad
Total Best: group stage 7/9 18 3 3 12 9 25
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place/semi-finalists   Home venue

Arab Nations Cup[edit]

Lebanon's Arab Nations Cup record
Host nation(s)
and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA
Lebanon 1963 Third place 3rd of 5 4 2 0 2 13 4
Kuwait 1964 Fourth place 4th of 5 4 1 1 2 4 5
Iraq 1966 4th of 9 6 3 1 2 11 10
Lebanon 1982 Cancelled
Saudi Arabia 1985 Did not participate
Jordan 1988 Group stage 6th of 10 4 1 2 1 2 4
Syria 1992 Did not participate
Qatar 1998 Group stage 9th of 12 2 0 1 1 1 4
Kuwait 2002 8th of 10 4 1 1 2 5 7
2009 Cancelled
Saudi Arabia 2012 Group stage 10th of 10 3 0 1 2 1 4
Total Best: third place 7/9 27 8 7 12 37 38
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place Home venue

Pan Arab Games[edit]

Lebanon's Pan Arab Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad
Egypt Alexandria 1953 Group stage 5th of 6 3 1 1 1 1 4
Lebanon Beirut 1957 Third place 3rd of 8 5 2 2 1 10 6
Morocco Casablanca 1961 Fourth place 4th of 6 5 2 0 3 13 9
United Arab Republic Cairo 1965 Group stage 7th of 10 4 1 1 2 4 7
Syria Damascus 1976 Did not participate
Morocco Rabat 1985
Lebanon Beirut 1997 Third place 3rd of 8 5 2 2 1 9 7
Jordan Amman 1999 Second stage 5th of 11 5 2 1 2 6 9
Egypt Cairo 2007 Did not participate
Qatar Doha 2011
Total Best: third place 6/10 27 10 7 10 43 42
     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place Home venue

Asian Games[edit]

Lebanon's Asian Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad
India New Delhi 1951 Did not enter
Philippines Manila 1954
Japan Tokyo 1958
Indonesia Jakarta 1962
Thailand Bangkok 1966
Thailand Bangkok 1970
Iran Tehran 1974
Thailand Bangkok 1978
India New Delhi 1982
South Korea Seoul 1986
China Beijing 1990
Japan Hiroshima 1994
Thailand Bangkok 1998 Group stage 12th of 23 5 2 0 3 9 7 Squad
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

Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002 (with three players of over 23 years of age allowed in the squad).

Mediterranean Games[edit]

Lebanon's Mediterranean Games record
Host nation,
city and year
Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad
Egypt Alexandria 1951 Did not enter
Spain Barcelona 1955
Lebanon Beirut 1959 Third place 3rd of 3 4 0 0 4 1 2
Italy Naples 1963 Group stage 7th of 9 4 1 0 3 2 7
Tunisia Tunis 1967 Did not enter
Turkey İzmir 1971
Algeria Algiers 1975
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Split 1979
Morocco Casablanca 1983
Syria Latakia 1987 Group stage 6th of 8 3 0 1 2 1 7
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[edit]

Tournament Result
Kuwait 1989 Peace and Friendship Cup Group stage
Thailand 2009 King's Cup 3rd place
India 2009 Nehru Cup Group stage

Records and fixtures[edit]

As of 8 August 2019, the complete official match record of the Lebanese national team comprises 294 matches: 81 wins, 84 draws and 129 losses.[21][122] During these matches, the team scored 353 times and conceded 436 goals. 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 15 consecutive official matches.[b][91]

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

Upcoming fixtures are listed on the 2010–19 results page.

Player records[edit]

Most-capped players[edit]

Abbas Ahmed Atwi smiling
Abbas Ahmed Atwi (84 caps) is the team's most-capped player.
# Player Period Caps Goals
1 Abbas Ahmed Atwi 2002–2016 84 7
2 Hassan Maatouk 2006– 79 20
3 Youssef Mohamad 1999–2016 66 3
4 Walid Ismail 2010–2019 65 1
5 Mohamad Haidar 2010– 60 4
6 Roda Antar 1998–2016 59 20
7 Haytham Faour 2011–2019 58 0
8 Hassan Chaito 2011– 54 6
9 Abbas Ali Atwi 2002–2016 52 4
Ali Hamam 2009– 3

As of 8 August 2019.[123] Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.

Top scorers[edit]

Hassan Maatouk (left) and Roda Antar (right) are Lebanon's all-time record goalscorers with 20 goals each.
# Player Period Goals Caps Average
1 Roda Antar 1998–2016 20 59 0.34
Hassan Maatouk 2006– 79 0.25
3 Wartan Ghazarian 1993–2001 19 30 0.63
Mohamad Ghaddar 2005–2017 42 0.45
5 Haitham Zein 1998–2004 13 26 0.5
6 Mahmoud El Ali 2007–2013 12 46 0.26
7 Jamal Taha 1993–2000 10 32 0.31

As of 8 August 2019.[123] Highlighted names denote a player still playing or available for selection.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Arabic: المنتخب اللبناني لكرة القدم
    French: Équipe du Liban de football
  2. ^ a b c The match played on 9 September 2018 against Oman, which ended in a 0–0 draw, was not considered official by FIFA.
  3. ^ Both Italian and Turkish sides were made up of amateur players.
  4. ^ After the withdrawal of North Korea, Myanmar and Turkmenistan, only Lebanon and the Maldives were involved in the preliminary round.

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External links[edit]