Croatia will have to play out the remainder of the 2018 World Cup with one less player in the squad after striker Nikola Kalinic was sent home from Russia on Monday.
Coach Zlatko Dalic confirmed Kalinic’s explosion this afternoon to media after the story broke this morning that the AC Milan striker would be packing his bags for home for disciplinary reasons.
Reports from Russia suggested that Kalinic refused to go on as a sub in the 85th minute against Nigeria when requested, telling Dalic at the time that he had a sore back. Marko Pjaca was then sent on instead.
“Nikola warmed up, he was due to go on in the second half and then he said he was not ready to go on as he had a pain in his back. The same happened against Brazil (at Anfield) and also at training yesterday. I need fit players who are ready to play and I sent him home as he is not ready,” said Dalic on Monday.
Dalic did not answer any further questions or go into the matter any further.
Croatia faces Argentina this Thursday and according to FIFA rules, no replacement for Kalinic will be allowed meaning Dalic will have 22 players at his disposal under the end of the tournament.