Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Croatia Coach Explains Nikola Kalinic's Sending Home from World Cup

Croatia Coach Explains Nikola Kalinic's Sending Home from World Cup

While Kalinic cited a back injury as the reason for his refusal, many believe that it was due to his frustration with being left out of the starting lineup.

The AC Milan striker complained of back pain when he was asked to come on in the 85th minute of play which did not convince Dalic.

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic said striker Nikola Kalinic was sent home from the 2018 FIFA World Cup after refusing to come on in their 2-0 Group D win over Nigeria on Saturday.

Kalinic's removal will come as a blow to Dalic and Croatia for the remainder of the competition as it weakens the striker options for the remainder of the campaign.

Dalic declined to answer any questions over the issue.

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World Cup nations are only allowed to replace players in their squads until 24 hours before the start of the tournament, and only then in the event of injury. He did the same thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn't ready, and for yesterday's training session too.

Kalinic secured a big-money move to AC Milan from Fiorentina last summer, but the 30-year-old scored just six times.

"I have calmly accepted that and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision".

Dalic's decision proved correct as Kramaric forced Oghenekaro Etebo into an own goal before Mandzukic was brought down for the penalty that Luka Modric converted to make the points safe.

If the reports are indeed true, Croatia will only have one natural number their squad, Mario Mandzukic.

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