Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Croatia Striker Nikola Kalinic Kicked Out Of World Cup Squad

Croatia Striker Nikola Kalinic Kicked Out Of World Cup Squad

Kalinic, who played for Blackburn Rovers between 2009 and 2011, was starting his fourth worldwide in a row on the bench and complained of the same problem in the friendly loss to Brazil.

Coach Zlatko Dalic confirmed Kalinic's explosion this afternoon to media after the story broke this morning that the AC Milan striker would be packing his bags for home for disciplinary reasons.

Reports emerged earlier on Monday that Kalinic had refused to come off the bench during his country's opening 2-0 win over Nigeria in Group D, citing his back complaint.

But while the team is in as good a position as they could hope after one match in the World Cup, Croatia is not without problems of its own.

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Croatia have reportedly sent AC Milan striker Nikola Kalinic home after his antics during their FIFA World Cup victory over Nigeria this weekend.

However, Kalinic reportedly told his manager that could not as he has a back problem. "The same thing happened against Brazil and in training on Monday".

However, Dalic wouldn't comment on his motives, saying only: "I need my players fit and ready to play".

The incident caps a disappointing year for Kalinic.

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Winger Marko Pjaca went on instead, but Dalic apparently wasn't convinced by Kalinic's excuse.

Croatia will play their second group game against Argentina on Thursday.

The 30-year-old's absence means Croatia lack a specialist alternative to Mario Mandzukic, although Andrej Kramaric - who started the Nigeria game playing off the Juventus man - can lead the line if needed.

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