Nikola Kalinic sent home as Croatia reach World Cup Final; Fair or Unjust?

Words by Karan Teli

So as Croatia head towards their first World Cup final, an interesting story has broken out concerning their campaign. 30-year-old striker Nikola Kalinic of AC Milan was sent home after refusing to be substituted on late into their first group game, a 2-0 victory against tournament favourites Nigeria. The striker has been widely criticised by all for his refusal to play with many feeling as though he was completely in the wrong. I disagree. 

First and foremost, despite Croatia being a dark horse no one in their right mind could have foreseen this team reaching the final so that can’t be held against him. As a matter of fact, they have ridden their luck hugely surviving two penalty shootouts en route. The World Cup only offers a maximum of seven games. That’s just seven chances for each set of 23 players to showcase themselves to the world. If a player believes he is good enough to play and is not selected he is well within his right to voice his objection (especially if they feel they can make a greater contribution to the team). 

At this point, Croatia was already 2-0 up against a far superior but desperately unlucky Nigeria side, and perhaps the manager was substituting in Kalinic late in the game to prove a point. We as spectators have no idea as to what dynamics and conversations were unfolding behind closed doors. Who’s to say that Kalinic, no doubt a strong-minded and opinionated footballer was not simply challenging some of the decisions the manager was making? After all, in life teams do lose, businesses go bust, managers even lose their jobs from time to time so there is no guarantee that a manager is always correct. 

Now simply for demonstrating his dissatisfaction, he was sent on a one-way trip back home. To me, this decision seems harsh and unjust. The player has worked the whole year… no his whole life to play at a World Cup only for him to be sent home after the first game. It struck me as a pretty knee-jerk reaction which I’m sure the Croatian team might have reconsidered if the situation could be replayed. It’s no secret that the worst decisions can be made when you’re in an emotional state. And for those who may disagree with me or Kalinic’s decision consider this – we’ve never been in a situation that Niko has been in. Representing and carrying the hopes of an entire nation in the grandest tournament on the planet is not something we can fathom. Just trying to imagine this made me personally question if my emotions and decision-making abilities could be kept in check. These are the things no one is attempting to understand!

In conclusion… I’m just fucking around. Nikola Kalinic is self-centred and his ego is out of control. He deserved to be sent home! Let this be a lesson to all cocky bastards out there that karma comes full circle in the most agonising way. Funny thing is, these type of people will ignore all warnings until it’s their day of reckoning. But I’ll warn them anyway so no one can tell me I didn’t! There’s no ‘I’ in team and it’s so detrimental to a group to push your own hidden agenda, let alone to brazenly parade it. Good for you Niko, good for you!

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