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Kalinic refuses substitute role, Croatia send him home

19 June, 2018, 04:21 | Author: John Swanson
  • Nikola Kalinic of AC Milan celebrates his goal during the serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Saturday's clash against the Super Eagles marked Kalinic's fourth successive game starting on the bench under Dalic, who went with Mandzukic and Andrej Kramaric in attack, with Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic flanking them.

Kalinic, who now plays for Fiorentina but spent last season on loan at AC Milan, has been linked with a move away from Italy in recent weeks but these actions could hamper a move.

Two days after their big win over Nigeria in the first round of Group D, troubling news has shaken the Croatia national team - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has sent home an unsatisfied Nikola Kalinic.

Dalic declined to answer any questions over the issue.

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"During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half", Dalic said.

"However, he said he wasn't ready to go on because he felt a back problem".

The 30-year-old can not be replaced, meaning Croatia will have to make do with only 22 players for the rest of the tournament. "The same thing happened against Brazil and in training on Monday".

Kalinic secured a big-money move to AC Milan from Fiorentina last summer, but the 30-year-old scored just six times.

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Croatia's remaining group games are against Argentina on Thursday and Iceland one week from tomorrow.

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

Kalinic's exit has since exposed Croatia's lack of attacking options, with Mandzukic the only out-and-out striker available in their squad.

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