Croatia Send Nikola Kalinic Home From World Cup

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic giving instructions on a touchline

The Croatian Football Association has not yet confirmed Kalinic's expulsion but Dalic is set to clarify the situation later on Monday at a press conference.

"Kalinic warmed up against Nigeria, but when he came out he told me that he wasn't ready".

He did start both legs of the UEFA qualifying playoff against Greece in November 2017, but his last start came in a friendly defeat at the hands of Peru in March of this year and woeful club form is seemingly responsible for the 30-year-old losing his worldwide place.

Confirmation came several hours after reports of Kalinic's dismissal circulated in the Croatian press. The same happened against Brazil (at Anfield) and also at training yesterday.

As for Croatia, they must play the rest of the tournament with 22 players, with no replacements being allowed at this stage. Kalinić did not train on Sunday, along with Vrsaljko and Kramarić.

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Kalinic was reportedly sent home after refusing to enter the team's match against Nigeria as a substitute on Saturday.

"There is no need for special tests".

Let us know in the comments. After the match Dalic had referred to there being a "problem" in the camp but had refused to elaborate. Dalić accepted everything quietly then, but apparently lost his patience.

Kalinic has played 41 internationals, scoring 15 goals since his debut in 2008. A month later, Kalinić played at the Euros in Austria and Switzerland and was part of the national team at Euro 2012 although he did not play a minute.

Kalinic's removal will come as a blow to Dalic and Croatia for the remainder of the competition as it weakens the striker options for the remainder of the campaign.

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