2018 World Cup draw pits Ekdal against Germany

The draw for the group stage of the 2018 World Cup was made in Russia on Friday afternoon, as Rothosen players Albin Ekdal, Filip Kostic and Gotoku Sakai discovered their respective nation’s fate next summer.

It’s a little over seven months until the opening fixture of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which will see the hosts take on Saudi Arabia on 14th June. Three Rothosen could be representing their country next summer, with Filip Kostic’s Serbia, Gotoku Sakai’s Japan and Albin Ekdal’s Sweden all qualified for the tournament. The draw for the group stage was completed at Moscow’s Kremlin this afternoon to see which sides will be pitted against each other during the finals.

Albin Ekdal: “I’m over the moon to have the chance to go to a World Cup”

Albin Ekdal’s Sweden, who came out on top against Italy in the qualifying play-offs, will come up against defending champions Germany, Mexico and South Korea in Group F. It’s certainly not an easy draw, which Ekdal knows all too well. “Germany are obviously a team that I was hoping to avoid. They’re one of the three best sides at the World Cup and it will be very hard to beat them,” said the 28-year-old following the draw. “South Korea and Mexico are also good, but they are both winnable games. It could have been a trickier group, though it definitely could have been easier. Nevertheless, I’m over the moon to have a chance to go to a World Cup,” added the midfielder.

Sweden’s opening game in Group F is against South Korea on 18th June, before meetings with Germany on 23rd June and Mexico on 27th June.

Kostic’s Serbia to face Brazil

HSV winger Filip Kostic can also look forward to a meeting with a World Cup winning side in Russia, after his Serbia team were drawn against Brazil, with their clash set for 27th June. Kostic will also take on Costa Rica (17th June) and Switzerland (22nd June) in Group E.

Meanwhile, Gotoku Sakai and Japan have been drawn in Group H. The Samurai Blues will play Colombia on 19th June, Senegal on 24th June and finally Poland on 28th June.