Croatia striker sent home for refusing to play against Super Eagles

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Widespread reports suggest that Kalinic complained of a back problem when Dalic asked him to go on in the 85th minute when Croatia's comfortable 2-0 win was already secure.

"Kalinic warmed up against Nigeria, but when he came out he told me that he wasn't ready". At 30-years-old, it remains a question as to whether or not Kalinic will ever don a national jersey again.

"However, he said he wasn't ready to go on because he felt a back problem".

In what was the fourth successive global fixture where he had been left on the bench and looks like a major blow to his career that's fallen apart since making a lucrative €25m (R390m) switch to the San Siro in the start of last season.

"The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday".

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Kalinic can not be replaced so Croatia will continue in the tournament with a 22-man squad.

Kalinic spent last season at the San Siro, scoring six goals in 41 appearances, after netting 33 times during two seasons with Fiorentina.

The news will sour what had been a positive start to the tournament after Luka Modric had scored from the penalty spot to seal all three points for Croatia after an own-goal from Oghenekaro Etebo had handed Dalic's side the lead.

His exit means Croatia have just Mario Mandzukic left within their squad as an out-and-out No.9.

They face Argentina on Thursday (19:00 BST) and finish their Group D campaign against Iceland on Tuesday 26 June (19:00 BST).

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