Christoph Kramer did not know he was playing in the FIFA World Cup final after suffering concussion, referee Nicola Rizzoli has revealed.
Germany midfielder Kramer suffered a blow to head in a collision with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay in the 19th minute of Sunday’s showpiece, which Joachim Low’s men won 1-0 after extra time.
Kramer was allowed to play on despite the coming together, but was substituted in the 32nd minute as the severity of his problem became apparent.
The Borussia Monchengladbach man was later revealed to have suffered from concussion, leading to criticism of FIFA’s protocol over such injuries.
And the game’s referee Rizzoli has now disclosed the nature of a bizarre conversation that led Kramer to be replaced by Andre Schurrle.
Rizzoli told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Shortly after the blow suffered by Garay, Kramer came to me and asked: ‘Ref, is this the final?’
“I thought he was joking, he repeated the question and said: ‘I need to know if this is really the final.’
“At my ‘yes’, amazed, he concluded: ‘Thanks, it was important to know’. I advised [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and they replaced Kramer.”