Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic was sent home from the World Cup last week after refusing to come off the bench in their 2-0 win over Nigeria. He joins a list of disgraced players who left the World Cup early as compiled by Lynette Matheka
1. Nikola Kalinic: (Croatia) -Russia 2018
Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic was sent home from the 2018 World Cup in disgrace after refusing to come on as a substitute during their 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening match.
Kalinic started on the bench for the fourth successive international match but was asked to enter the fray by boss Zlatko Dalic in the closing stages of the Group D clash in Kaliningrad.
However, according to reports in Croatia, the striker declined his manager’s orders, citing a problem with his back.
The Croatia boss was forced to turn to Marko Pjaca, who is nominally a wide player, to come on in place of forward Mario Mandzukic. Dalic was unconvinced by the 30-year-old’s claim and opted to dismiss him.
2. Nicolas Anelka: (France) – South Africa 2010
Anelka was sent home after reportedly abusing coach Raymond Domenech at half-time during the 2-0 defeat to Mexico. Following criticism of his positioning by Domenech, Anelka launched into a tirade full of expletives.
The incident was later reported by the media, and the player refused to publicly apologise when asked to do so by the national FA. The next day, the rest of the squad refused to go to training in protest against Anelka’s expulsion.
3. Roy Keane: (Ireland) -South Korea/Japan 2002
Captain Keane was sent home after criticising his side’s preparations for the tournament. He was dismissed for being a “disruptive influence” after an argument with his manager, Mick McCarthy, descended into a slanging match.
McCarthy said: “I cannot and will not tolerate being spoken to with that level of abuse being thrown at me, so I sent him home.”
4. Zlatko Zahovic: (Slovenia) – S. Korea/Japan 2002
Roy Keane was not the only player to leave the 2002 World Cup early with Slovenia playmaker Zahovic following him.
The Benfica midfielder had a row with coach Srecko Katanec after being substituted in their 3-1 defeat to Spain and the Slovenia Football Federation decided to send Zahovic home early.
Rudi Zavrl, the president of the federation at the time, said: “Zahovic has continued with his attitude which was damaging for the atmosphere surrounding the team.”
5. Diego Maradona: (Argentina) – USA 1994
The Argentina star was booted out of USA 94 after failing a drugs test before their final group game with Bulgaria. He had previously led Argentina to the title in 1986 and to the 1990 final, where they lost to West Germany.
Maradona scored in their 4-0 win over Greece before failing his test which signalled the end of his successful and controversial international career.
6. Willie Johnston: (Scotland) -Argentina 1978
After Scotland’s opening game against Peru in the 1978 tournament in Argentina, Johnston tested positive for a banned stimulant contained in medication prescribed for hay-fever.
His subsequent expulsion from the squad ended his international career after 22 appearances, although he maintained his innocence.
7. Uli Stein: (West Germany) -Mexico 1986
The goalkeeper was sent home after he called West Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer a laughing stock.
8. Stefan Effenberg: (Germany) -USA 1994
The midfielder was given his marching orders for making a rude gesture to supporters after he was substituted in Germany’s group stage victory against South Korea.
9. Ernst Jean-Joseph: (Haiti) -Germany 1974
Soon after Haiti’s decent showing against Italy in the tournament, a game in which Jean-Joseph’s team had briefly led, celebrations were undermined by Jean-Joseph’s failure of a dope test. Haiti’s officials meted out their own punishment before flying the player home.
10. Sigmund Haringer: (Germany) -Italy 1934
The German defender was alleged to have missed his team’s third place play-off match for eating an orange on a railway platform without permission. The German soccer federation (DFB) denied this and said he withdrew because he was ill.