Their first campaign for Lebanon's football was in 1972 AFC Asian Cup qualification, under their first qualifying manager Joseph Abou Murad. They must meet Bahrain if they want to be drawn in group A or B. Lebanon lost 0-3 to Bahrain in Kuwait so they would be drawn to group B. In their first respective group, they lost to host Kuwait 0-1, but later, they defeated their traditional rival Syria 3-2 in a top hard match. They earned 2 points, and qualified to the next round.
In the match against Iraq on semi-final, Lebanon lost 1-4, so despite of their 2-0 victory to Jordan, they failed to qualify for their first AFC Asian Cup.
Despite the civil war was happening, Lebanon appeared in 1980 AFC Asian Cup qualification, held in Abu Dhabi. Their first match was over the host UAE, which they managed a 0-0 draw. Suddenly Bahrain withdrew (not accepted by the AFC), helping Lebanon a 2-0 win. But they failed in the last match when they lost to traditional rival Syria 0-1, and was out.
Lebanon made its debut in the 1998 Asian Games when they were drawn in group B of preliminary round with China and Cambodia. Coach Terry Yorath brought the under-23 team to the competition.. Their beginning match was over China where they lost 1-4. They qualified to the round 2 because of their 5-1 victory to Cambodia.
In the second round, they were drawn to group 4 with host national Thailand, Qatar and Kazakhstan. They lost two matches over Qatar and Thailand both ended 0-1. Despite of being eliminated, Lebanon had stormed the Central Asian side Kazakhstan 3-0, and finished last with 3 points only.
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.
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 captainRoda 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 defenderChoi 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.
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 where 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 defenderBaihakki 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 since the 1996 qualifying. 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).
On September 8, 2014 Lebanon played an unofficial FIFA match against the Brazilian Olympic team in Doha for the first time which ended in a 2-2 draw which drew great praise from all Lebanese people for their performance in the match.
International press called its similar to Bosnia and Herzegovina reformation due to the same way between Miroslav Blažević of Bosnia and Theo Bücker of Lebanon. Unfortunately, after Lebanon 0-5 loss to Qatar, Giannini was suspected once again. Even so, Giannini confirmed that he was just preparing for future, and using the evidence from Lebanon's 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup qualifying.
In 2015 Arab U-17 Women's Cup, Lebanese football marked for the first time having a national team to play on the final, and later, won the trophy. This is the sign for the new rise of Lebanese football.
^On 16 October 2015, FIFA announced that the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) was suspended with immediate effect, following a decision from FIFA Executive Committee that sports law of Kuwait had to be changed before 15 October. There has been no decision by FIFA regarding upcoming matches.
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.
From 1930 to 1938, Lebanon was a part of France and therefore did not take part in any of the qualification process. Lebanon did not participate in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup until 1994.
From 1930 to 1938, Lebanon was a part of France and therefore did not take part in any of the qualification process. Lebanon did not participate in the qualifying campaign for the Asian Cup until 1972.
^"World Cup draw looms large in Asia". FIFA.com. 13 April 2015. Completing the tournament's qualifying contenders will be the next 16 highest ranked teams, with the remaining 12 sides battling it out in play-off matches to claim the last eight spots.