Andrej Kramaric is the first Hoffenheim player to be involved in a World Cup semi-final. The attacker will play for the Croatian national team against England on Wednesday evening (20:00 CET) as he bids to fulfil his dream of reaching a World Cup final.
Andrej Kramaric is preparing for the biggest match of his life. The TSG Hoffenheim man will be part of the Croatian national team that squares off against England in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday evening (20:00 CET). Fans all over the globe are eagerly anticipating the clash in Moscow – including 2,000 kilometres away in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the mood is one of tension and excitement. It's obviously been a big talking point in the TSG training camp – especially as the club still has a representative at the tournament. "We're all delighted for Andrej and are really proud of him. Of course we'll be crossing our fingers for him tonight. Having a Hoffenheim player in the World Cup final would obviously be amazing," said Sporting Director Alexander Rosen. Nico Schulz also had some words for his team-mate: "Above all stay fit! Play like you have with us and at the World Cup, then you'll make it tonight!"
Kramaric has played a pivotal role as Croatia have made their way through to the semi-finals. He scored an important goal to level the score at 1-1 in a hard-fought quarter-final against hosts Russia and calmly netted a spot-kick in the Round of 16 penalty shootout victory over Denmark. Self-confidence is high, as is the anticipation ahead of the clash with the English and his former Leicester City strike partner Jamie Vardy. But sentiment will not stand in the way as he prepares to face his old team-mate from the Premier League. "Jamie's a super guy. We experienced an incredible time together in Leicester that I'll never forget. My time in England was a wonderful experience that I could speak about for days on end. But I hope I'll be able to talk about this time with Croatia at the Word Cup for years to come. England want to bring football home, but we want to send them home," he said with a smile and a wink.
TSG TEAM WISHES KRAMARIC GOOD LUCK
Though in Russia, the 27-year-old has still followed the huge hype surrounding the Croatian national team. "We know what the scenes must be like back home and in Germany, where a lot of Croats live. It's amazing to get so many messages from all over the world, my phone is never silent any more. The excitement level is incredibly high."
Among the messages he received was a very special one before the match. The TSG Hoffenheim team sent him a video message via the club's social media channels to wish him lots of luck for the semi-finals.