Zlatko Dalic Sends Kalinic Back Home
Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic has sent striker Nikola Kalinic home after the striker reportedly refused to play against Nigeria. He was being prepared as a second-half substitute but the AC Milan forward told Dalic that he couldn’t play due to a back injury.
The 30-year scored six goals in Serie A last season and also netted three times during Croatia’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup but he has been forced to start the last four games on the bench. He also played just 143 minutes four years ago in Brazil.
Dalic is believed to be extremely unhappy with Kalinic’s attitude and told reporters after the game that “we don’t have any injuries but we do have a problem”.
Croatia got off to the perfect start by recording a 2-0 win against the Super Eagles with Luka Modric’s second-half penalty helping ensure a comfortable evening for the European side. The result rarely looked in danger and it’s the perfect preparation for their meeting with Argentina on June 21st.
William Hill have priced Croatia up as 3.90 outsiders for this clash but they will fancy their chances of getting something from this game. They will be able to attack the Argentinian back-line which has been less than impressive in recent months.
Betway are offering 1.90 on Croatia to qualify for the knock-out round. They have failed to reach the round of 16 at each of their last three tournaments but they’ve given themselves an excellent chance of ending that barren run.
Nigeria Remain Confident of Qualification
There were high expectations surrounding all four of the Group D sides ahead of the tournament and it looks a hugely competitive section. Nigeria may have lost their opening game to Croatia but defender Elderson Echiejile says the camp remains confident of making it through to the round of 16.
He admitted his side’s individual errors cost them a point but they will be endeavouring to “correct them” against Iceland. He told reporters that the squad had a terrific mentality and that they shall “…overcome these setbacks”.
A tight game is expected with both sides priced up at 3.00 for this Group D fixture. The draw will be popular and can be backed 3.25 with most online Canadian sportsbooks.