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Kramer’s finals dream ends in a daze

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KRAMER-ARGENTINARIO DE JANEIRO, July 13- Christoph Kramer’s late dream call-up to the Germany team for the World Cup final with Argentina ended after just half an hour with him being helped off in a daze.

The 23-year-old midfielder — who replaced Sami Khedira when the Real Madrid star injured a calf muscle in the warm-up at the Maracana stadium — received medical attention after Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder connected with his jaw in the 17th minute.

Kramer played on but after 13 minutes coach Joachim Loew took the decision to send on Andre Schuerrle for the Borussia Moenchengladbach player on the half hour who had to be helped off the pitch barely knowing which city he was in.

Kramer’s heartbreak came in only his second start for Germany having made his debut in a goalless draw in a friendly with Poland in May.

He had played just 12 minutes at the finals prior to Sunday’s game, coming on in extra-time in the last 16 win over Algeria and came off the bench in the 90th-minute of the quarter-final victory against France.

Kramer’s head injury in the World Cup final has revived concern about the way football deals with concussion.

Kramer continued playing for 14 minutes Sunday after taking a heavy blow to the face in a collision with Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay.

The 23-year-old Kramer was replaced in the 31st minute after slumping to the ground.

He appeared to be disorientated when helped off the field by medical staff.

Argentina players Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta played on in the semifinal against the Netherlands after sustaining head injuries. Both players started in the final.

Questions about FIFA’s concussion protocol were first raised in the group stage when Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira refused to leave the field after being struck in the head by an England opponent’s knee.

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