Sri Lanka's excitement at reaching the final qualifying round of the 2004 Asian Cup was quickly extinguished as they fell to six straight defeats against Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates and Syria -- who in particular had the Indian Ocean islanders' number with 5-0 and 8-0 victories.
The side suffered a similar embarrassment in the qualifying campaign for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, beaten twice each by both Thailand and Lebanon, while securing their only points in a draw and a 3-1 victory over Pakistan fired by a brace from Weerarathne Kassun.
They did recover well however from their Asian Cup exit, storming to a 3-0 second-leg victory in Colombo over Laos after a battling scoreless draw in the away leg of the Germany 2006 preliminary.
But fighting spirit was not enough to make up for their lack of power in the Asian Zone's second round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Germany. They were doomed to elimination alongside Asian powerhouses Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Turkmenistan. With four defeats and two draws, the South Asian islanders finished bottom of their group.
Having lost to Saudi Arabia 4-0 on aggregate in qualifying for the previous FIFA World Cup, Sri Lanka have again been given hard West Asian assignments with a two-legged qualifying preliminary against Gulf Side Qatar. Under coach Anthony Balandera, the islanders will be hoping to create history this time around.