Andrej Kramaric might have been right in the thick of the action as a wave of Croatian celebration rippled across Moscow late on Wednesday evening, but despite witnessing the action first-hand, the TSG Hoffenheim striker still had trouble believing what was happening after helping his country beat England 2-1 after extra-time in the World Cup semi-final. "Unbelievable moments," he wrote beneath a video of the Croatian celebrations that was posted on his Instagram account, adding: "Croatia, I love you."
Some 2,000 kilometres away, the TSG Hoffenheim players were celebrating too. The team had sent the 27-year-old a video message in the build-up wishing him luck for the semi-final, before gathering in front of the TV screens at the team hotel to cheer on their team-mate. Managing Director Dr. Peter Görlich, who is with the team at the training camp, is proud of the TSG man: "Andrej has already achieved big things. Now we obviously hope for him that he wins the tournament. Having a TSG player in the World Cup final is an incredible achievement and a Hoffenheim World Cup winner would be the icing on the cake. We're proud of Andrej and delighted that he's representing TSG so brilliantly on the biggest stage of all."
Kramaric thanks TSG for good luck message
In a WhatsApp message, Andrej thanked his team-mates for their message from Bavaria. Until Sunday, though, his thoughts will obviously be entirely on the national team. The Croats celebrated the win similarly to their previous victories, with jubilant dancing and renditions of the song "Moja Domovina" – "My homeland". The celebrations began on the pitch as the players and staff of the national team, wrapped in flags, gathered together for a team photo to commemmorate the historic achievement of reaching their first-ever World Cup final. Back home in Croatia, a country with only 4.2 million inhabitants, the celebrations knew no bounds. The newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija wrote: "Wonderful, unbelievable Croatia! Brave, combative and fiery. Croatia have made footballing history. The "lucky" 13th country to reach a World Cup final and the second-smallest of them all."
Andrej again had a hand in the success, coming on to replace Ante Rebic in a hard-fought match after 101 minutes. Eight minutes later Mario Mandzukic scored to make it 2-1 and Croatia never let their lead slip. They will be bidding for the biggest triumph of them all on Sunday and Andrej wants that World Cup title, writing: "Final, we're coming. Don't let us wake up. Let us keeping dreaming and see it through to the end."