Belfast Telegraph

Nikola Kalinić sent home from World Cup by Croatia

Croatia striker Nikola Kalinić has been 'excluded' from their World Cup squad after claiming he couldn't come off the bench against Nigeria due to a back injury.

Croatia got off to a strong start with a 2-0 win, but the victory has been overshadowed by Kalinic being sent home from the tournament.

The 30-year-old striker, who has scored 15 international goals, will return home to Croatia.

"During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinić was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half," Croatia manager Zlatko Dalić said.

"However, he then stated that he wasn't ready to come on due to a back issue. The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday.

"I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision."

Croatia continue their tournament on Thursday when they face Argentina in a crucial Group D clash at 7pm.

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