Croatia is one win away from first World Cup title, and Nikola Kalinic won’t be a part of it

There's a time and a place for rebellion. In the middle of a World Cup match when you're asked to take the pitch probably isn't one of them. Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic is learning that the hard way right now. The forward, who played for A.C. Milan on loan last season, reportedly refused to come onto the pitch as a sub in Croatia's 2-0 win over Nigeria, its first game. He cited a back problem as the reason why he wanted to stay on the bench, but he was subsequently sent home.

So imagine how gutted Kalinic must have been when the final whistle blew on Croatia vs. England, sending Croatia to its first World Cup final against France on Sunday.

When called upon by Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic in the 85th minute against Nigeria in the opening game of the group stage, Kalinic refused to come in. Marko Pjaca was subbed on for Mario Mandzukic instead.

So while the rest of Croatia was losing its collective mind, setting off flares and generally causing a ruckus, there's a good chance that Kalinic wasn't among the crowd.

The moral of the story? Play the meaningless minutes. If you don't, you might miss out on a chance to play for your country in the World Cup.

That probably doesn't apply to everyone, but why risk finding out if it applies to you? If you think you're having a bad day, imagine how Kalinic must feel.

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