Ekdal through to the quarters with Sweden

Albin Ekdal and Sweden have punched their ticket to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Following Japan’s Last 16 exit, Ekdal is the only remaining HSV star at the tournament.

Good news from Russia: Albin Ekdal and Sweden have made the quarter-finals of the World Cup. On Tuesday afternoon, the Scandinavians beat Switzerland by one goal to nil thanks to a deflected shot from Emil Forsberg and can look forward to their first quarter-final since the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Ekdal put in a strong performance over the whole 90 minutes – he and his teammates now face England on Saturday at 16:00 CEST in Samara.

Last-minute defeat for Sakai

HSV’s Gotoku Sakai and the Japanese national team on the other hand are heading home after a last-minute Belgium winner in the Last 16 on Monday night. The Samurai Blue took a two goal lead shortly after the half-time break through Genki Haraguchi and Takashi Inui, but Belgium responded with goals from Vertongen and Fellaini to level the score, before Nacer Chadli delivered the final blow in the dying seconds of the game. After the defeat, Sakai sent out an emotional message to his fans and teammates on Instagram: "Our dream is over. We are very disappointed – it was very close. We gave absolutely everything, but in the end that was not enough. I am proud of this team and will return home with my head held high."