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

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic refuses World Cup runners-up medal after sudden axe

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic refuses World Cup runners-up medal after sudden axe

Nikola Kalinic has admitted he does not deserve his World Cup runners-up medal, having been sent home from the tournament after Croatia's opening game.

Kalinic turned down the medal after he was sent packing from the tournament with only one match played.

The Milan striker refused to come on as a substitute in Croatia's 2-0 win over Nigeria, citing fitness issues, but was then kicked out of the squad by head coach Zlatko Dalic.

Kalinic, who was dismissed from the squad after the 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening match, told Sportske Novosti: "Thank you, but I did not play in Russian Federation".

"Thanks for the medals, but I did not play in Russia", Kalinic told Sportske Novosti.

Dalic said Kalinic did the same in a World Cup warmup against Brazil and during training.

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic refuses World Cup runners-up medal after sudden axe
Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic in AC Milan colours

Kalinic was reportedly annoyed to be handed a fourth consecutive bench role by the manager.

In his absence, the Croatia's Blazers went all the way to their first FIFA World Cup final in history.

Croatia topped their group before beating Denmark on penalties in the Round of 16, before beating Russian Federation also on penalties.

Croatia's Nikola Kalinic in AC Milan colours.

But in the showpiece final, Croatia lost 4-2 to France at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium with their goals coming from Perisic and Mandzukic again.

According to reports in France, a 50-year-old fan died after breaking his neck when he sprung into a canal in the Alpine city of Annecy at the end of Les Bleus World Cup victory.

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