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

Croatia's Kalinic reportedly thrown out of World Cup squad

Croatian media reported that Kalinic had been axed for his refusal to play, suggesting he was not happy to be left of out of the starting XI.

Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday night in their opening group game of this year's World Cup, though neither team performed convincingly.

"He warmed up for the game against Nigeria, he was supposed to go in, but he said he was not ready".

Kalinic who apparently has been having grudges with the technical crew, started on the bench for the fourth successive global matches but was asked to enter the fray by boss Zlatko Dalic in the closing stages of the Group D clash in Kaliningrad, an instruction which he flatly refused to obey.

"The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday", Dalic said. He also refused to answer direct questions about Kalinic.

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

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.

Modric converted in the 71st minute when referee Sandro Ricci awarded a penalty after William Ekong held onto Mario Mandzukic, the only recognised Croatia No 9 following Kalinic's dismissal.

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

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.

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