By Chineze Ogugua
Croatia has sent forward Nikola Kalinic home from the World Cup after he refused to play during their 2-0 win over Nigeria leaving the Croats to play with only 22 players for the rest of the tournament.
Kalinic had complained of a back injury during their friendly loss to Brazil and made the same complaint during their match against Nigeria.
Coach Zlatko Dalic said in a press conference after the decision: “I need my players fit and ready to play.”
“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.”
The Fiorentina striker played for Blackburn Rovers between 2009 and 2011 and has so far scored 15 goals in 41 appearances for Croatia. He also played for AC Milan before moving on loan to Fiorentina and making the move permanent this summer.
Croatia’s next World Cup game is against Argentina on Thursday this week.
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