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18th Jun 2018

Croatia striker to be sent home after refusing to come on from the bench against Nigeria

A press conference has been called for this afternoon

Reuben Pinder

A press conference has been called for Monday afternoon

Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday night in their opening group game of this year’s World Cup, though neither team performed convincingly.

An own goal and a Luka Modrić penalty secured three points for Croatia, but problems arose when manager Zlatko Dalić wanted to bring on striker Nikola Kalinić.

According to Croatian newspaper, 24sata, the AC Milan striker reportedly refused his manager’s order, claiming he had a back injury.

Dalić brought on Juventus winger Marko Pjaca instead of Kalinić, who is reportedly going to be sent home as a punishment for disobeying his manager’s orders.

A press conference has been called for 16:15 this afternoon, when it is expected that Kalinić’s expulsion from the squad will be confirmed.

Croatia will play their second group game against Argentina on Thursday. Jorge Sampaoli’s side suffered a frustrating 1-1 draw against Iceland on Saturday, with Lionel Messi missing a penalty just to make matters worse.

Croatia will be confident of getting a positive result against Argentina, but it seems they will have to do it without the option of Nikola Kalinić. They do have Mario Mandžukić and Andrej Kramarić to call upon though, so they’re unlikely to miss him too much.