Croatia had their best ever performance at a major tournament when they finished second place at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 following a 4-2 loss to a Kylian Mbappe-inspired France in the final at the Luzhniki Stadium.
On Thursday, Zlatko Dalic’s team return to action when they take on European Champions Portugal in a friendly match at Estadio Algarve, before a visit to Spain next Tuesday for their first match in the UEFA Nations League.
FourFourTwo Arabia caught up with Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric to discuss Croatia’s heroic success in Russia, as well as his club’s ambitions this season.
FFT Arabia: Croatia finished second at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. What does it mean personally to now be a big part of Croatian football history?
Kramaric: They were outstanding weeks. I am very proud to belong to the second best team in the world. That was one of the biggest events ever in my career. This success gives me, personally, again more confidence.
FFT Arabia: The celebrations in Croatia were incredible. How would you describe the Croatian support during FIFA World Cup Russia 2018?
Kramari?: I cannot express in words. It is indescribable what the fans have shown us. I can just say thank you for this incredible support. These memories will never be forgotten, forever.
FFT Arabia: What are the main ambitions and goals for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim this season?
Kramaric: We have to go with the attitude in every game to always want to win. We have high expectations, but after a concrete placement, you can ask me in like ten match days (smiles). In the Champions League it would be sensational of reaching the knockout stages. The participation in this particular competition (UEFA Champions League) does not only mean a lot for the club, but also for me personally.
FFT Arabia: How would you describe the atmosphere of TSG 1899 Hoffeinheim’s Rhein-Neckar-Arena on match day?
Kramaric: The fans fantastically support us. Overall, this club has over the past two and a half years that I’ve been here, taken an almost breathtaking development. Here, much fits together, and I feel very comfortable. There is high appreciation from all sides, and I would like to work with them to promote this development. Therefore, I just extended my contract until 2022.
FFT Arabia: What are your personal goals this season with TSG 1899 Hoffeinheim?
Kramaric: I have a hit number in mind, but I will not reveal (grins). But, of course, I want to build on the good last season and do my part again to the success of the team. I look forward to next year.