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World Cup Watch : Mikael Lustig

Sweden v Denmark - International Friendly Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

With the world cup fast approaching and soon to be kicked off by the great Russian lads this Thursday, we’re doing a focus on the Celtic players involved in at Russia 2018.

There’s a grand total of four of our players there, so let’s talk about Mikael Lustig.

Lustig’s season has been a strange one. Despite his atrocious form at club level, there never seemed to be any doubt that he’d not be involved for Sweden when they qualified for the world cup last year, and will surely add to his 64 caps by starting every group stage game.

Who is he up against ?

Monday 18th June: South Korea

Saturday 23rd June: Germany

Wednesday 27th June: Mexico

Will he feature past the group stages?

I’d be surprised, as Germany and Mexico are the overwhelming favourites to progress from this group. Sweden and Germany faced each other in 2012 right enough in a memorable match in which the Scandinavians came back from 4-0 down after 60 minutes to remarkably draw 4-4, with Lustig getting on the scoresheet in the process. That said, Germany have improved drastically since their EURO 2012 disappointment, winning a world cup of course and their strength is that great, they can afford to omit the excellent Leroy Sane from their squad, which Lustig himself may be relieved at, but Sweden should focus on where their goals are going to come from as they have struggled to score goals and drew blanks against Denmark and Romania in friendlies. Ola Toivonen no longer makes the first team at Toulouse, Marcus Berg plays in the United Arab Emirates, Isaac Kiese-Thelin has been doing okay in the Belgium, and John Guidetti has just one international goal to his name. Sweden have a big attacking problem, and are likely to be ‘up against it’ in their matches against quick and direct opponents.

Will Celtic be fighting off transfer bids if he has a good world cup?

Definitely not. Lustig wasn’t attracting any attention when Lennon and Deila were in charge, and he was more of a free flowing and attacking full back, and at 31, it’s clear he will be seeing out the majority of what remains of his career at Celtic.

Gulag Rating

10/10. If he even dares to try any of his ‘zany’ and ‘whacky’ antics over there, he’s going to get done in. Good luck taking a FSB official’s hat over there if your team scores, although it would be a solid RTP.

Tomorrow: Cristian Gamboa.