Croatia took a 2-0 win over Nigeria in the 2018 World Cup first leg. Kalinic was asked to enter the field in the second half, but he refused to play.
Quoted from the BBC, Kalinic refused to play because claiming he has not recovered properly from injury. For that reason coach Zlatko Dalic finally decided to return the AC Milan striker.
“I need my players to be fit and ready to play,” said Dalic.
“When the game with Nigeria, Kalinic warmed up and should play in the second round, but he said he was not ready due to back problems, similar conditions occurred in a friendly with Brazil in England, also before training Monday,” said Dalic.
“I accept that and because I need my players to be fit and ready to play, I have to make this decision,” he added.
The decision to repatriate Kalinic left Croatia with 22 players at the 2018 World Cup. Kalinic has 41 caps and a collection of goals totaling 15 with the Croatian national team.