DOHA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Croatia's veteran forward Andrej Kramaric said on Monday that conditions in Qatar for the World Cup finals were much better than he had expected.
The days prior to the World Cup have seen maximum temperatures of around 28 degrees centigrade in the capital city of Doha, easing worries that playing in the Middle East in excessive heat would be a big problem for the players.
Speaking to the media, the 31-year-old, who has scored 20 goals in 74 appearances for his country, said he had no problem with either the conditions or the timing of the tournament.
"They have been better than I expected, although it's a little bit windy. And considering the air conditioning in the stadiums, it will even get cold during the games," Kramaric explained.
As for the much-criticized timing of the tournament in mid-season, the Croatian commented that it was "great actually."
He said that playing before the mid-way point of the European season could make games more entertaining.
"We're not tired and it's not the end of the season and so, I think we will see a burst of energy from a physical standpoint during this World Cup, which I think is going to be fiery," he commented.
Kramaric also said that he hoped Argentina's Lionel Messi could lift the trophy on December 18th, but added that he didn't think it would happen.
"I think 95 percent of players would agree Messi is the greatest player to ever play this game, I don't think we'll see a player like Messi again, so, in that regard, I'm cheering for Argentina, but I think Brazil will win," he concluded.
Croatia (2018's beaten finalists) is in a group with Morocco, Belgium and Canada and gets the ball rolling against Morocco on Wednesday.