Ekdal and Sweden are in the Last 16, Kostic and Serbia are out

Albin Ekdal has booked his place in the Last 16 of the World Cup with Sweden. Filip Kostic on the other hand will be heading home with Serbia, while Gotoku and Japan have a good chance of joining Ekdal and Co. in the knockouts.

One man’s joy is another man’s sorrow. Not quite the phrase for our HSV boys in Russia yesterday, but close enough: A 3-0 win over Mexico meant Sweden progressed to the Last 16 as Group F winners. They will now face Switzerland in the first round of the knockout stages. Albin Ekdal has now started all of Sweden’s games at the World Cup, and we’ve not seen the last of him. The same cannot be said for Filip Kostic, whose World Cup dreams with Serbia are over following a 2-0 defeat to Brazil. The HSV man started for Serbia and was taken off shortly before full time.

Gotoku Sakai still has every chance of making the knockout stages with Japan. This afternoon (Thursday), the HSV captain and his international colleagues meet already eliminated Poland in Volgograd, knowing a win will guarantee the Samurai Blue a place in the Last 16. Best of luck, Gotoku!