Croatia send Nikola Kalinic home from 2018 World Cup

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The story was initially released this morning stating back pain as the reason, which is what the media learned from the staff in Russian Federation.

However, Kalinic reportedly told his manager that could not as he has a back problem.

Croatia and AC Milan striker Nikola Kalinic is thought to have been sent home from the World Cup after reportedly refusing to come on as a substitute during the country's opening game win against Nigeria on Saturday.

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.

"I need players who are fit and ready to play and Kalinic isn't", he explained in his pre-match press conference. He did the same thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn't ready, and for yesterday's training session too.

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The 30-year-old had an unremarkable season at the San Siro, scoring only six times in 41 appearances-his lowest tally for a campaign since he moved to Italy and his worst since he was at Blackburn Rovers in 2010-11.

Croatia will play the rest of the World Cup with just a 22-man squad after sending home AC Milan forward Nikola Kalinic.

Kalinic can not be replaced on the squad, so Croatia will continue in the tournament with 22 players.

Kalinic had been asked to enter the match in the 85th minute but refused to do so, citing a back injury.

Croatia now sits atop of Group D. They next face Argentina on Thursday from Nizhny Novgorod. They do have Mario Mandzukic and Andrej Kramaric to call upon though.