Croatia beat England to book their first appearance in a World Cup final
AC Milan forward Nikola Kalinic was sent home by coach Zlatko Dalic after he declined to come on as a substitute
Croatia beat England to book their first appearance in a World Cup final thanks to an extra-time goal by Mario Mandzukic but one player will watch the match from his house.
AC Milan forward Nikola Kalinic was sent home by coach Zlatko Dalic after he declined to come on as a substitute against Nigeria in their first group match.
Croatia was leading 2-0 and Kalinic was asked to warm up before coming on to replace Mandzukic but he cited a back problem and Schalke’s Marko Pjaca took his place.
According to Dalic, this was the second time the striker had given that excuse, the first one coming during their friendly against Brazil as they prepared for the World Cup.
The coach then decided to send Kalinic home saying he needed players who were both mentally and physically fit.
“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 (June 10).
He added: “I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.”
This means that Kalinic will not even get a winners' medal if Croatia beat France on Sunday and he becomes the first player to be sent home from a World Cup squad.
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