Thursday, February 23, 2012

U.A.E vs Lebanon: a preview, a guide and what it means

In November 2011 when Lebanon beat South Korea 2-1, strangely, a lot of people believed that Lebanon had qualified for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. How can a team qualify for a competition 3 years before it takes place wasn't a question asked by many around the country. It was a massive 3 points and a great achievement, but the victory was somehow wrongly mistaken for direct qualification to the World Cup and that’s why next Wednesday’s clash with the United Arab Emirates at their home ground is even more important than that game against South Korea.

So here are a few things that you should know regarding the importance of the game and what its consequences could be:

  • Lebanon have not yet qualified for the World Cup. Far from it. 
  • The game versus the United Arab Emirates is the last game of Round 3 of the Group Stages. 
  • Lebanon MUST either Win or Draw the match to qualify from Round 3. This is the game that counts.  
  • If they win or draw the match, they move on to Round 4
  • In Round 4, they’ll become part of the final 10 teams from Asia's qualifiers for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Here’s what it will look like (this is just an example to make it look easy for you):

Team 1
Team 6
Team 2
Team 7
Team 3
Team 4
Team 8
Team 5
Team 9

  • Lebanon will still have to play against all the teams in their group, twice (home & away). So there’s still another 8 games to play for. These games are expected to be played over the course of a year between June 2012 and June 2013. 

  • The Top 2 teams of each group will automatically qualify for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Those teams will be the 4 automatic teams that will represent Asia in the tournament. 

  • Now, this is where it might be a bit tricky for those who don't watch Football regularly (because I'm sure there will be some reading this) – but it’s not. The 2 teams that finish in 3rd place in Group A and Group B will face each other in Round 5

  • Round 5 is a play-off game. 3rd of Group A vs 3rd of Group B. The winner of this game will qualify for what’s called the “Continental Play-Off”.

  • What’s that you might wonder? Well, it’s pretty simple. The "Continental Play-Off" is a match between the winner of Round 5 in Asia’s qualifications versus the winner of the equivalent of Round 5 in South America (actually just the 5th placed team in a 10-team mini-league in South America). 

  • The winner of the "Continental Play-Off" will qualify for the World Cup in Brazil and become the 5th member from Asia or South America that will qualify for the World Cup in Brazil.

Easy stuff, right?

Lebanon are in with a chance to qualify for the World Cup in 2014, but there's still a long way to go. Like with most things in our lives, a chance  might be all it takes - and in Football even more so! Add to that chance a tiny bit of luck and a good amount of support and you're talking about turning a situation that was once laughed at into a distinct possibility. When we think about that game versus South Korea, on paper, the odds were stacked against Lebanon winning. But all those who were at the game will testify that the crowd had a bigger impact on the players' performances than anything else.

We've always been considered a non-nation when it comes to Football, but why? We've seen smaller nations thrive and do better than we have at Football. Is it because of talent? I doubt it. Is it because of the lack of money invested in the game? To some extent. Is it because Lebanese people don't love the game? Definitely not. Then what is it really about? What's Lebanon's biggest failure in Football?

The lack of infrastructures and investments in the game all comes from the lack of belief. Lebanese people with power and money don't believe in the game and the influence it could have on our society and on our people as a whole. The power of Football is underestimated. Yet despite that, we might pull off a coup. There has got to be an acceptance that a sport is strong enough to unite a nation and allow it to disperse itself from the toxic religious and political divides that we've become accustomed to. Throw that all out. No politics, no religion, just Football. That should be the message. That should be our language.

The journey to Brazil could all start with a victory, or a draw, on Wednesday. Whether you're at the stadium or in front of your TV screens, or even streaming the game from afar, just show your support. It doesn't take much. Put your plans aside for a little while (plus there's nothing better to do on a Wednesday, admit it). This is a simple matter of belief and support. Nothing more. Believe in the fact that Lebanese footballers are doing something for once. They're performing well and they're being spoken about in their own country! This is a reminder that Lebanon could, especially with our support, be on the brink of becoming one of the 10 Asian nations in that might qualify for the World Cup...and bloody hell, imagine if that happened.

Lebanon, this is our chance. Nobody believes in us and we are the underdogs. It all depends on Wednesday! Win or draw and the journey begins! Let's make it happen! COME ON LEBANON!


  1. actually we can lose if Kuwait fails to win:)

    1. No. We will only be eliminated if we lose and Kuwait wins.

  2. Why focus on what happens with the Kuwait game? We've got the advantage. Draw or Win and we're through. That's all that counts :).

  3. :') Beautiful article !!

  4. I've been waiting for this game for MONTHS!

  5. I'll at the stadium!!! :D

  6. Actually Leb dont NEED a point to qualify... they can still lose, as long as kuwait dont win in S.Korea (VERY unlikely that they win).

    Funny how many people thought we qualified for the WC already... just shows how uninformed Lebanese are of long the qualification process. Thats sad, but hopefully this is the beginning of Lebanese taking the sport more seriously...

    1. lol ziggy ur hilarious homie....thanks for the positive feedback but ur grammar is wrong ;)

  7. Belief in success - and freedom - is the way to go

    "I'm very happy for the Lebanese people. Football is an almighty power – it can bring freedom to a country." Theo Bucker


  8. yes football is very very powerful, check this out:

  9. Football is the game which spread all the world people like this game very much.The seniors players want to say that this is the game which is very good for the health.With this your all body is in warm up and you live physically fit with this game.

  10. Postings are so helpful at all thank you very much all of this.

    Jelly Gamat

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