Rangers defender Filip Helander will have next year’s World Cup in his sights after Sweden received a favourable draw for the playoffs.
Sweden have been drawn against the Czech Republic in their semi-final which will be played at home, and if they win that match, they will play either Russia or Poland away.
They may count themselves lucky as they avoided potentially facing either Italy or Portugal in their bracket.
The draw is still a challenging one, as the Czech Republic impressed at Euro 2020 in the summer, knocking out the Netherlands.
Poland and Russia both have quality in their ranks too, but there’s no doubt that it could have been worse.
Although the Swedes defeated Italy in a playoff for the 2018 World Cup, the Italians are a different prospect this time around due to achieving success under Roberto Mancini at the delayed Euro 2020 competition.
Helander was part of the Sweden squads at both the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 European Championship. He didn’t play in the first edition and only featured for 19 minutes in Sweden’s decisive tie against Ukraine in the last 16 of the Euros.
The Rangers defender is currently on the sidelines due to an injury; however, he’s expected to be back fully fit in time for the playoff tie in March next year.
The 28-year-old was arguably one of Steven Gerrard’s best signings as Rangers manager. He’s regularly put in commanding performances at centre-back and formed a key partnership with Connor Goldson during our title-winning campaign last season.
He’ll no doubt be itching to get back to club action soon before trying to play a part in getting his country to the grandest stage of all.
In other Rangers news, the club has announced a new assistant manager.