One of Croatia’s strikers Nikola Kalinic has suffered the ignominy of being sent home from the World Cup after he refused to come on as a substitute in the game against Nigeria.
The Croatian team won 2-0 against Nigeria thanks to an own goal and a penalty by Luka Modric which propelled them to the top of the group thanks to the draw between Argentina and Iceland.
Nikola Kalinic was on the bench for the game against Nigeria and was asked to come on by Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic in the closing stages of the Group D clash in Kaliningrad.
It is, however, reported that the striker refused to come on stating that he had a problem with his back. The plan was to bring on Kalinic for Mandzukic but the coach had to instead bring on Marko Pjaca, a wide player, for Mandzukic.
The coach was unimpressed by Kalinic’s decision not to come on and decided to send him home. Kalinic was nowhere to be seen as Croatia trained at their Saint Petersburg base on Sunday ahead of their second Group game against Argentina.
It seems the decision was later taken to axe the AC Milan forward with Kalinic believed to be taking the first flight back home from Russia this week.
The fall out of this is the decision is that now Mandzukic is the only recognised forward in Croatia and there is no one else that can play the forward position as effectively
There has been no confirmation by the Croatian Football Association as to Kalinic’s dismissal.