FIFA World Cup 2018: Croatia Forward Sent Home after Refusing to Come on as Substitute
Nikola Kalinic of Croatia has been sent home from the FIFA World Cup 2018 after refusing to come on as a substitute during his side’s opening game. Croatia won the game against Nigeria by 2-0, but it has hurt the dressing room.
The Croatian forward was left on the bench for a fourth successive international fixture.
Kalinic informed head coach, Zlatko Dalic that he would not be able to come on during the second half of Croatia’s 2-0 win on Saturday.
Dalic confirmed Kalinic’s departure in a statement released on Monday. It portrayed the situation as more cordial than initial reports from the Croatian media had suggested.
“Nikola warmed up against Nigeria; he was to enter the second-half and said he was not ready. Again, the same was true of Brazil as well as in training yesterday. I need healthy players, ready players and I sent him home because he is not ready.”
“I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision,” he added.
Kalinic is linked with a summer move to West Ham. It would mark a return to the Premier League for the 30-year old. The news will sour what had been a positive start to the tournament after Luka Modric had scored from the penalty spot to seal all three points for Croatia.
Modric converted in the 71st minute when the referee, Sandro Ricci awarded a penalty after William Ekong held onto Mario Mandzukic. Now, Manduzukic is only recognised Croatia No 9.
The striker spent last season on loan at Milan from Fiorentina. He scored six goals in 41 appearances, before making the move permanent this summer.
Croatia’s next game is against Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday. And, they will finish their Group D campaign against Iceland on 26 June.
Saif Ahmed Chowdhury
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