JAMES SANDS will head to the World Cup later this year after the United States secured their qualification overnight.
The Rangers star was an idle sub as his country lost 2-0 to Costa Rica.
However, they headed into the clash knowing they were close to reaching Qatar 2022 with only a heavy defeat of six or more goals denying them a place on the biggest stage in world football.
Sands – who joined Rangers on a long-term loan during the January transfer window – was part of an embarrassing blunder by United earlier this week after celebrating their premature qualification.
But Gregg Belhalter’s side are now officially in the final and can now celebrate while waiting and learning the fate of their group tomorrow.
Sands took to social media to share a photo of the national team’s message confirming their qualification after last night’s loss.
The United States return to the World Cup after eight years of absence.
Sands’ joy comes from the grief of several of his Rangers teammates.
Nigerian trio Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun were caught in chilling scenes as they were eliminated by Ghana.
The Super Eagles failed to qualify after losing on away goals.
Filip Helander and Sweden will also not make it to the final after a play-off loss to Poland.
Sands and his USA teammates will learn their fate tomorrow night with the draw starting at 5pm UK time.
The tournament kicks off on Monday November 21 with the final played at Doha’s Lusail Stadium the week before Christmas on Sunday December 18.
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Sands’ attention will now turn to Sunday’s huge Old Firm derby showdown with Celtic at Ibrox.
Rangers trail Ange Postecoglou’s men by three points at the top of the Premiership table – but hold a superior goal difference.
Former Light Blues star Neil McCann believes the visitors will have a hand in the Premiership trophy if they pick up maximum points at the current champions’ home.
He said: “I think Rangers, would you say, are the favorites because they are at home, but Celtic are clearly in very good shape.
“I think under Ange Postecoglou they play a real brand of attacking football and I think if Rangers lost that game the title would practically go to Celtic Park.
“But Giovanni van Bronckhorst will know the magnitude of this game.
“I don’t see anything but Celtic coming and attacking Rangers and if [Alfredo] Morelos is in good shape, [Ryan] Jack is a great player for them, if these guys are doing well then Giovanni has to pull out all the stops to try and win the game because it’s so crucial.
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