Germany's hopes of beating Argentina in Sunday's 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana took a massive blow with the news that star midfielder Sami Khedira would be unable to start the match due to a calf injury.
The news was reported by the team's official Twitter account:
Replacement Christoph Kramer has never started a match for the German national team, according to Raphael Honigstein, so the injury will have a big impact on Die Mannschaft's synergy:
Kramer's first competitive start for #GER.— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) July 13, 2014
Kramer also eventually left the game after sustaining a head injury (via ESPN FC):
Kramer, the man who replaced Khedira, is now taken off after a blow to the head earlier in the match. Schurrle coming on. Still 0-0.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 13, 2014
Khedira hurt his calf during the team's warm-up, according to Football Italia:
ALERT: Sami Khedira has pulled out in the warm-up with calf problems, he is replaced by Christoph Kramer #GERvsARG— footballitalia (@footballitalia) July 13, 2014
The Herald Sun's David Davutovic thought the news was huge:
Massive blow for Germany with Khedira (calf) replaced in XI by Kramer after warm-up. That vital my tip changed to Argentina now— David Davutovic (@davutovic) July 13, 2014
Khedira was one of the team's top performers during Germany's semi-final win over Brazil, using his blend of technique and physicality to put immediate pressure on the Selecao's ball-carriers. Khedira scored a goal and added an assist in the 7-1 blowout vs. the hosts.
The Real Madrid midfielder nearly missed out on the 2014 World Cup due to injury, but he recovered in time to put together a nearly-flawless campaign.
Kramer is a 23-year-old midfielder with Bayer Leverkusen. He spent the 2013-14 season on loan with Borussia Moenchengladbach and was vital in the club's Bundesliga run, securing Europa League football for the coming season.
Talented but inexperienced, the young midfielder will now start his very first match for his country on the biggest stage the sport has to offer.