Teams: FC Internazionale Milano
Libya NT: The Greens
The Libya national football team (Arabic: منتخب ليبيا لكرة القدم), is the national team of Libya and is controlled by the Libyan Football Federation. They have never reached the World Cup and have made two appearances at the African Nations Cup, finishing as runners up in 1982, when they hosted the tournament.
Libya first entered the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1970. Their early attempts failed, but during the 1980s the national side strengthened. The country's geopolitical position, however, affected the football team, who had to withdraw from qualifying for the 1982 and 1990 World Cups.
Libya came closest to qualifying for the world cup in 1986. They came to within a game of reaching the finals in Mexico. After winning their match against Sudan in their first game, the Libyans beat Ghana in the next round before taking on Morocco for a place at the finals. Morocco won the first game 3-0 and went through, even though Libya won the return leg 1-0.
After not entering the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup competition, Libya came back in the qualifying competition for Korea/Japan. The Libyans advanced to the second round at the expense of Mali, who were beaten 4-3 on aggregate.
In the group stage, Libya managed only one draw in eight games, however. The qualifying tournament did put Libya's captain Al-Saadi Qadhafi (son of Muammar al-Gaddafi) on the football map and he received a contract with former Serie A Italian club Perugia shortly afterwards.
In the qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a 9-0 two-legged victory against Săo Tome and Principe put the Libyans through to the group stage. However, during these two games, the country's most famous player, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, was banned when he failed a drug test.
A difficult group followed containing Egypt, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire, the eventual group winners and qualifiers for the World Cup.
The biggest football tournament to be held in Libya was the 1982 African Cup of Nations. Libya qualified automatically as hosts and were put in a rather strong group alongside Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia. The opening match of the tournament which saw the hosts take on Ghana in Tripoli was a closely contested match. Ghana managed to score a late goal in the 89th minute forcing a 2-2 draw. A 2-0 win over Tunisia and a goalless draw against Cameroon saw Libya topping the group.
In the semi-finals, Libya came from behind to beat Zambia 2-1 and set up another match with Ghana, this time in the final on March 19. Ghana scored first in the 35th minute, but Libya equalised in the 70th. This was followed by a tense period of extra time in which no goals were scored. In a long penalty shootout, Ghana came out triumphant 7-6.
Libya's second African Cup of Nations saw a return to the higher levels of the international footballing scene at the 2006 African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt. They qualified for the competition after a goalless draw with Sudan in their ninth qualifying match.
Libya were drawn in Group A with Egypt (the hosts), 2006 World Cup-qualifiers Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco. Libya's players were unable to compete with these teams, and came away with just one point from their final match against Morocco.
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