Forward Nikola Kalinic has reportedly been kicked out of Croatia’s World Cup squad for refusing to play in the side’s 2-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday.
According to Croatian media outlet 24sata, Kalinic, a substitute for the match, declined to come on during the closing stages of the Group D clash in Kaliningrad.
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic has subsequently opted to dismiss the 30-year-old.￼
Speaking in the wake of Saturday’s win, he told reporters that the team had finished the game without injuries but “with a problem”.
Croatia’s Football Association has yet to confirm Kalinic’s expulsion but it’s expected Dalic will confirm the decision later today in a press conference.
Kalinic’s departure will leave Croatia with just one natural No 9 in their squad in the form of Mario Manduzkic.
The forward, who scored six goals in 41 games for AC Milan this season, has not started any of Croatia’s last four games.
Croatia currently top Group D, being the only team to have won their opening fixture. (The Independent )