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Croatia's Nikola Kalinic declines World Cup medal after being sent home early

Croatia fell short in their first World Cup final, but the FC crew explain what made the Vatreni's run so impressive.

Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic has not accepted a runners-up medal after his country's 4-2 World Cup final defeat to France because he was sent home early in the competition, reports in the Croatian media said.

Kalinic, dismissed from the squad following the 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening match, reportedly said: "Thank you, but I did not play in Russia."

Coach Zlatko Dalic sent the AC Milan forward home when, warming up to be a second-half substitute, he told him he was not able to play because of a back problem.

Dalic said at the time that that Kalinic had been asked to come on in the 85th minute but refused, citing a back injury, adding that he had also declined to come on in a friendly against Brazil in England before the tournament and had missed a training session.

Kalinic could not be replaced on the squad, meaning Croatia played the rest of the tournament with 22 players.

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