Although Libya has been trying to qualify for the FIFA World Cup ™ finals since 1970, they only ever came close on one occasion. That was in the run-up to 1986, when they came to within a game of making it to the finals in Mexico.
After ousting Sudan in the first round, the Libyans beat Ghana in the next round before taking on Morocco for a place at the finals. The Moroccans won the first game 3-0 and went through, even though Libya won the return leg 1-0.
Not entering the 1994 and 1998 qualifying rounds, the Greens came back in ahead of Korea/Japan 2002. The Libyans managed to advance to the second round at the expense of Mali, who were beaten 4-3 on aggregate.
In the group stage, they had their work cut out for them, as they managed only one draw in eight games.
The draw of the African preliminary qualifying round for Germany 2006 proved a bit of a mismatch in favour of the Libyans, who were drawn against São Tomé e Príncipe - the lowest-ranked African team.
A 1-0 victory in Sao Tome put Libya well on course for a place in the group stage. In the return leg, the Greens ran out comfortable 8-0 winners and booked their tickets for the groups.
Luck was not on their side when the draw was made, however, and
they ended up facing Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Egypt, Sudan and
Benin. Given the context, Libya's 12-point haul was quite an
They will again have tough opposition at the start of the 2010 qualifiers, drawn in a difficult group with Gabon, Ghana and Lesotho.