Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic sent home after refusing sub role

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"During the Nigeria match, Kalinic was warming-up and should have come in the second half".

Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic will reportedly be sent home from the World Cup after telling management he was unable to come on as a substitute during Saturday's Group D win against Nigeria in Kaliningrad. "However, he then stated that he wasn't ready to come on due to a back issue", said Dalic. "The same thing happened against Brazil and in training on Monday".

Kalinic was an unused substitute against Nigeria with rumours emerging that he refused to go onto the pitch from the bench.

In what was the fourth successive worldwide fixture where he had been left on the bench and looks like a major blow to his career that's fallen apart since making a lucrative €25m (R390m) switch to the San Siro in the start of last season.

"I accepted it calmly, because I need ready and healthy players who can help their teammates".

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Kalinic, who was on loan at AC Milan from Fiorentina last season, said he had a back injury.

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.

Croatia's next match is against Argentina on Thursday, before they finish the group stages against Iceland on June 26.

Despite sending Kalinic home, Croatia doesn't have an opportunity to replace him on the squad, leaving the team to play the remainder of the tournament with just 22 men.

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