Croatia star kicked out of World Cup squad after refusing to play

first_imgKalinic was asked to enter the fray with four minutes left as a replacement for Mario Mandzukic but refused boss Dalic’s request, citing a back problem.Croatia instead had to bring on a wideman – Marko Pjaca – in the final stages of the match, which they won 2-0 thanks to an own goal from Oghenekaro Etebo and a Luka Modric penalty.The Croatian Football Federation confirmed Kalinic had left the team’s base camp on Monday and would return home immediately.A statement from Dalic read: “During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinić was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half. However, he then stated that he wasn’t ready to come on due to a back issue.“The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday. I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.” ℹ️ Forward Nikola Kalinić to leave #CRO #WorldCup squad➡️ https://t.co/wtvNxgVZPp pic.twitter.com/ubmrNKBoJh— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) June 18, 2018The AC Milan striker, once on the books of Blackburn Rovers, has scored 15 goals in 41 appearances for his national team.He has been left on the bench for their last four games, and is said to have been left upset by his failure to make the starting XI against Nigeria. 1 Nikola Kalinic is heading home from Russia center_img Nikola Kalinic has been thrown out of Croatia’s World Cup squad.The striker has been sent home in disgrace by manager Zlatko Dalic after refusing to come on as a substitute in the Group D clash against Nigeria on Saturday. Dalic alluded to an issue with Kalinic after the match when he told reporters the team had finished without injuries but “with a problem”.Now he has taken a hard line with Kalinic heading home, leaving Croatia with just one recognised striker in Mandzukic.Croatia next take on Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod on June 21.talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network.last_img read more