The Libyan national football team represents Libya in men’s international association football and is controlled by the Libyan Football Federation. The team has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup in history but has qualified for three Africa Cup of Nations: 1982, 2006, and 2012. In 1982, the team was both host and runner-up. In the Arab Cup, Libya finished second in 1964 and 2012 and third in 1966. The team is affiliated with both FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Libya Football History.

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Due to the political situation, Libya has generally been less successful in international competition than other North African teams such as Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia. Libya has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and has had little participation in AFCON, having only qualified for three AFCON editions.

Libya National Team

Libya’s world ranking has improved since the 2010s due to the increasing number of Libyan players playing in foreign leagues. At the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the team recorded their first win at the tournament outside of Libya. His FIFA World Ranking peaked at 36 in September 2012.

Libya then won the gold medal at the 2014 African Nations Championship. However, the Libyan civil war halted the Libyan Premier League and adversely affected domestic affairs. Libya was eliminated in the first round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification by Rwanda and failed to qualify for the 2016 African Nations Championship as the defending champions.

Early History

The Libyan national team was first fielded in 1918 but did not play an official international until 3 August 1953, when it defeated Palestine 5–2 in the first Pan Arab Games 1953. The team’s first manager was Masoud Xantoni and the first foreign manager. The Englishman was James Bingham, who took charge of the Libyan national team for the 1961 Pan Arab Games. The first player to score in an official international for the Libyan national team was Mukhtar Gonoye.

It was the first penalty scored by a member of the national team in the group stage of the 1953 Pan Arab Games. In the match against Egypt, Ali Xantoni scored in a 3-2 defeat. The first appearance of the national team in the Arab Cup was in 1964 when the second edition of the competition was held in Kuwait.

Olympic Football Tournament

The first player to score a goal for the Libyan national team in an unofficial international was Mustafa Miki in a warm-up friendly before the 1953 Pan Arab Games tournament, against Palestine in Alexandria in 1952. It was the first attempt of the national team. Qualifying for the Olympic Football Tournament was in 1967 when they played their first qualifying match against Niger in an attempt to qualify for the 1968 Olympic Football Tournament in Mexico City.

World Cup

Libya first participated in FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1970. Their initial efforts failed, but the national team strengthened in the 1980s. However, the country’s geopolitical position affected the football team, which had to withdraw from qualifying for the 1982 and 1990 World Cups.

Libya came closest to qualifying for the World Cup in 1986. He came within one game of reaching the final in Mexico. After winning their match against Sudan in their first game, Libya defeated Ghana in the next round to face Morocco for a place in the final. Morocco won the first game 3–0 and went through, although Libya won the return leg 1–0.

1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup

After not entering the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup competitions, Libya returned to the qualifying competition for Korea/Japan. The Libyans reached the second round at the expense of Mali, who lost 4-3 on aggregate. In the group stage, Libya managed only two draws in eight games.

2006 FIFA World Cup

In qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 9–0 two-legged victories over Sao Tome and Príncipe sent Libya through to the group stage. Libyan player Al-Saadi Gaddafi was banned from the team for failing a drug test.

A tough group then consisted of Egypt, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast, the eventual group winners and qualifiers for the World Cup. However, the Knights were able to get good results against these sides, as they beat Egypt 2-1 in Tripoli, and held Cameroon and Ivory Coast to a 0-0 draw, which saw them qualify for the 2006 tournament. It helped me to get the fourth position. African Cup of Nations final in Egypt.

2010 FIFA World Cup

During the qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Libya defeated everyone in the second round during home matches. However, they lost to Gabon in an away match and failed to qualify for the next round on goal difference.

In the qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Libya reached the final match of the group stage without defeat. They lost 1–0 to Cameroon and failed to advance to the final round. Libya Football History.

2018 FIFA World Cup

In the qualifying campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Libya defeated Rwanda 4–1 on aggregate in the second round but was eliminated after losing their first three matches in the group stage.

Africa Cup

The biggest football tournament held in Libya was the 1982 African Cup of Nations. Libya automatically qualified as hosts and was placed in a group with Ghana, Cameroon, and Tunisia. In the opening match of the tournament, the hosts drew 2-2 with Ghana in Tripoli. A 2-0 win over Tunisia and a goalless draw against Cameroon saw Libya top the group. Libya Football History.

In the semi-finals, Libya came from behind to beat Zambia 2–1 to set up another match with Ghana, this time in the final on 19 March. Ghana scored the first goal in the 35th minute but Libya equalized in the 70th minute. What followed was a tense extra time in which no goals were scored. In a lengthy penalty shootout, Ghana won 7–6. For more details click here