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The Lebanese national football team was held to a draw by Palestine (0-0) in the World Cup qualifiers on Thursday, resulting in Lebanon’s elimination from the race for the 2026 World Cup.

Disappointing, one might say! The Lebanese national football team drew 0-0 with their Palestinian counterpart in the fifth and penultimate round of qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in the Qatari capital, Doha. Lebanon thus squanders its last chance of qualifying for the final stages of the football World Cup qualifiers.

Disappointing game
The match did not reach the required technical level, especially in the first half where both teams played cautiously, with few opportunities for the Lebanese national team.

In the second half, the instructions from the Lebanese team coach, Miodrag Radulović, were clear: they needed to take all three points from the match. The Cedars attacked, but were thwarted by a well-organized Palestinian defense. Indeed, Palestine prevented the Lebanese attackers from creating dangerous opportunities by tightening the lines and increasing the number of players on the wings, thus paralyzing the Lebanese attack. The encounter ended in a draw, signaling Lebanon’s elimination.

Last international appearance for Maatouk
In a previous statement, Lebanon’s captain and all-time leading scorer, Hassan Maatouk, confirmed that the matches against Palestine and Bangladesh would be his last before retiring from international duty. He hoped to bring happiness to the Lebanese before retiring, but misfortune prevented him from qualifying with his teammates, reflecting the significant decline of Lebanese football in recent years.

Decline on all fronts
Faced with these repeated disappointments, Lebanese football is going through a real nightmare, prompting everyone to wonder about the reasons behind its demise: poor administrative management or technical decline?
Undoubtedly, both factors are complementary: administrative negligence leads to technical decline.
For instance, it is unacceptable that the league, which comprises 12 teams, is played on only three stadiums, some of which do not meet FIFA standards.
All these factors have contributed to this catastrophic result, leading to the Lebanese team’s plummet to 120th place globally, with both the Federation and the Ministry of Youth and Sports in a state of complete lethargy.

Despite all these calamities, football remains the most popular sport, with the hope that one day, the Lebanese will be able to dream of making it to the World Cup.