Don’t let over excitement carry you away and don’t let a pessimistic observer like myself kill your dreams. Lebanon did the impossible and won against one of the best teams in Asia but Lebanon is yet to qualify to round 4 of the Asian qualifiers (Exactly! One more round before we celebrate!)
I haven’t seen a full stadium in Lebanon for God knows how long. Yet, today, the whole Lebanese people went to support the Football National Team against Korea Republic. Lebanon won 2-1 while the President of the country Michel Sleiman was watching from the stands. Every player of the national team was rewarded with 10 million Liras (almost $ 6,700) by the Lebanese government post the win.
The win against Korea Republic is an achievement by itself. The next achievement waiting to happen is qualifying to round four of the qualifiers for the first time in the history of Lebanese football. As to the probability of qualifying and all the possible scenarios I will try my best to write it in simple English so we all avoid the tweets that went wrong by the Lebanese politicians and the reports of some of the Lebanese news stations.
Lebanon is now second in Group B of the Asian Qualifiers, round 3. The last matchday of round 3 will be played on February 29, 2012, where Lebanon will meet UAE in UAE and Kuwait (now third in the same group) will meet Korea Republic in Korea (matches times and venues are to be announced later by FIFA).
How can Lebanon qualify?
- If Lebanon wins against UAE (regardless of Kuwait vs Korea result)
- If Lebanon draws against UAE (regardless of Kuwait vs Korea result)
- If Lebanon loses against UAE, on the condition Kuwait does not win against Korea Republic (If Kuwait loses or draws with Korea then Lebanon qualifies despite the loss)
What happens if Lebanon qualifies?
- The five Round Three group winners and five group runners-up will contest Round Four.
- The ten teams will be drawn into two round-robin, home-and-away groups of five teams each.
- The matches are foreseen to take place between 3 June 2012 and 18 June 2013.
- The third-placed teams of each group advance to Round Five. (Round 5: Winner of direct encounter will play against the fifth placed team in the South American qualifiers)
- The two group winners and two group runners-up qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
So, in a nutshell, Lebanon has a chance to make local history through advancing to the final round by February 29, 2012. Yet, the final round is a one year long round with 8 matches to be played by each team. The teams which already qualified to this round are: Jordan and Iraq (Group A) – Uzbekistan and Japan (Group C) – Australia (Group D) – Iran (Group E).
I want to see Lebanon in Brazil 2014 and I do not care if that means we will lose 100-0 in that World Cup, but I will hold my ambitions and hopes till February 29, 2012, and then will hold them again till at least June 2013.