The World Cup has lived up to the tag of ‘expecting the unexpected.’ Every match has gone right down to the wire, with tension mounting from all ends. The minnows and the dark horses have surprised the tournament favorites till now, with Mexico upsetting World Champions Germany in an epic 1-0 win for the African side.
However, if there was one result that the masses had expected that came true was the Group D encounter between Croatia and Nigeria. Everyone expected the European side to come up with a win against the African side, despite Nigeria’s attacking presence.
The match went smoothly for the Croatians as they topped the group with a 2-0 win over Nigeria. However, during the final few moments of the match, the 30-year-old striker Kalinic was asked to come onto to the pitch till the close of the game. Kalinic claimed he had a back injury before telling Zlatko Dalic he was unable to play.
What happened after that?
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 18, 2018
Following that incident, the 30-year-old striker has been sent home after not following team-orders with the physios claiming that the striker was fit to play for the final few minutes of the game. Dalic, according to Croatian media reports, said his side had finished the match in Kaliningrad without any injuries but “with a problem”.
The Croatian Football Federation is yet to confirm the striker’s expulsion from the tournament, while it is expected that they will confirm it later on Monday during a press conference three days ahead of their game with Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod.
Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic is expected to send Milan forward Nikola Kalinic home from the #WorldCup today. Kalinic was unhappy in the squad and refused to come on as a sub vs Nigeria, claiming he had a back problem. Croatian pess conference at 16:15 CET. #CRO
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) June 18, 2018
Post the crazy dismissal of the striker, Croatia will be left with umpteen number of problems on the pitch with Mario Mandzukic, the only striker on the team list. Against Argentina, Dalic would be hoping that they would not require the services of the AC Milan striker, with Mandzukic set to start for the Europeans.