Croatia have not yet made the decision whether Nikola Kalinic will receive a medal for his participation in the World Cup.
Kalinic, the AC Milan forward, refused to enter Croatia’s opening group-stage game against Nigeria on June 16 as a substitute and was subsequently sent home by coach Zlatko Dalic for his insubordination.
With Croatia advancing to the World Cup final against France on Sunday, players will receive either a gold or silver medal — and Kalinic is entitled to one as an official member of the squad — but whether he receives it has not been determined.
“Let’s see,” director of communications Tomislav Pacak said. “The players will decide.”
Dalic said in a statement that Kalinic had been asked to enter the game in the 85th minute of the 2-0 victory but refused. Kalinic cited a back injury as the reason why he did not want to play and also as the reason why he did not train the day before the game, but Dalic implied he was using the injury as an excuse to hide his displeasure with being left out of the starting XI.
The decision meant Croatia, whose last three knockout-round games lasted 120 minutes, have had to play the tournament with 22 players instead of the usual 23.