England met Croatia in the semi-final clash that was to decide who will face France in the final. France had won over dark horses Belgium by then and were patiently waiting in silence watching the clash to see the team that will fight it out with them in the final. England defender Kieran Trippier scored an amazing goal from free-kick after just 5 minute of play and the entire nation went berserk. “World Cup is coming home” slogans could be heard all over the Internet. Things changed in the second half, as Ivan Perisic scored a karate kick goal that equalised the score. This was followed by a Mario Mandzukic shot that was enough to decide the fate of the match and send England out of the final. While all this was going on, there was one player missing all the action, Nikola Kalinic.

The Juventus forward scored in the 109th minute, which made the Croatians reach the final and get a date with the in-form French team.The grim face of English manager Gareth Southgate and the way the players were slouched on the turf, teary eyed, it was a tough sight for any football fan. It was hard to think of anyone feeling worse than the England players, defeated by Croatia in a World Cup semi-final. A nation that only started playing in 1998 and then you remember Nikola Kalinic.

The current AC Milan striker, who once plied his trade in England with Blackburn, was supposed to be back-up to their star striker Mario Mandzukic and act as a cover for the Juventus man. Croatian manager Zlatko Dalic kept him in the squad that went to Russia, which meant that he was trusted upon and chosen ahead of someone else to play in this competition.

We have no clear idea of what was going through Nikola Kalinic’s mind, but this is what he did. He was called upon to come as a substitute in the Croatia’s 2-0 win over Nigeria and the man refused to come on.

Kalinic said he had a back injury and thus could not play but the coach and the medical teams did not believe him. The veteran forward was eventually sent home from the tournament.

Zlatko Dalic, the Croatian manger later released a statement. He said “During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic was warming up and was to come on in the second half. However, he then stated that he was not ready to come on due to a back-problem. The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England as well as before the practice session on Sunday. Since I need players who are fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.”

They were short by a man and even went through two nerve wrecking penalty shootouts. The Croatians overcame all this and even ousted England in extra time to make it to the World Cup final.

Kalinic will surely be kicking himself now. His decision to place his ego over the country’s needs has severely backfired. Fans from all countries took to twitter to mock the player as he is now forced to watch his country battle for their first World Cup from home.

One Twitter user wrote “I want you to meet Nikola Kalinic. He was part of Croatia’s World Cup squad. He refused to come as a substitute in the match against Nigeria and thus was sent home. Don’t be like Nikola Kalinic.”

“Your life could be worse. You could be Nikola Kalinic” said a twitter user, while another one was more sympathetic: “No matter how bad you feel this morning, at least you are not Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic.”

The Croatian would probably be hoping that his country not win the cup over France. If they do, then he will be missing out on the medal because of his sheer negligence and irrelevant ego which could have been saved for somewhere else.

If there is one Croatian who is not happy that they beat England to reach the World Cup final in Russia, then it not might be the case at all. These could be all but stories and people having their own set of assumptions and judgements.

It was stated by the player that he had some back issues, which was the main reason why he did not come on to the pitch. Eventually, his team needed him and they were lacking the pace in attack, due to which they did lose the final to France. Had he been there, the story could have been so different. However, we will never know now, we will jut not know.