Full story why Croatia striker Kalinic was sent home from World Cup

Head coach Zlatko Dalic has confirmed he has axed Nikola Kalinic from Croatia’s World Cup squad.

AC Milan front man Kalinic refused to come off the bench as a substitute during his side’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in Group D on Saturday.

Dalic has now confirmed Kalinic has suffered the consequences for his actions and will miss the rest of the competition.

Kalinic, who formerly played for Blackburn in the Premier League, had blamed a back problem and not a refusal to play.

Dalic told a press conference on Monday: "During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic 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."

Marko Pjaca, nominally a wide player, came on instead and Kalinic’s subsequent exit means Croatia have just Mario Mandzukic left within their squad as an out-and-out No.9.

Kalinic has 41 caps and 15 goals for his country and joined AC Milan, on loan with an obligation to buy, from Fiorentina last summer.

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

Milan are open to offers to sell him this summer as they look to balance the books at San Siro.

Will Croatia go beyond the quarter-finals at the World Cup?


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