Croatia have officially sent Milan striker Nikola Kalinic home with Coach Zlatko Dalic stating “I need ready and healthy players”.
It emerged this morning that the forward had refused to come on for Mario Mandzukic in the win over Nigeria, as he claimed he had a back injury.
"In agreement with his coaching staff, Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić decided to exclude Nikola Kalinić from the World Cup squad. Kalinić leaves Croatia basecamp in Roshchino on Monday and returns to Croatia," a statement from the Croatian Federation reads.
The Coach also commented on the decision, which was made in response to the Nigeria game.
“During the Nigeria match, Kalinic was warming-up and should have come in the second half,” Dalic confirmed.
“However, he said he wasn’t ready to go on because he felt a back problem. He did the same thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn’t ready, and for yesterday’s training session too.
“I accepted it calmly, because I need ready and healthy players who can help their teammates. He’s not like that, on three occasions he hasn't been ready, so I made this decision.”