October 2, 2017 / 6:57 PM / 9 months ago

Croatia's Kalinic out of World Cup qualifiers with thigh injury

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic will miss their World Cup Group I qualifiers at home to Finland and away to Ukraine, the country’s Football Association (HNS) said on Monday.

Football Soccer - Croatia v Spain - EURO 2016 - Group D - Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - 21/6/16 Croatia's Nikola Kalinic celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Sergio Perez Livepic

“AC Milan and the Croatian national team doctors have ruled Kalinic out of the two games after a scan showed a thigh muscle injury,” the HNS said in a statement on Monday.

The Milan striker has joined a long list of casualties on the sidelines for Croatia’s last two games, including midfielder Mateo Kovacic, forward Marko Pjaca as well as defenders Vedran Corluka and Tin Jedvaj.

Liverpool centre back Dejan Lovren will also miss Friday’s clash with Finland but might be available for Monday’s final game in Ukraine.

The Croatians top the fiercely competitive group with 16 points from eight games ahead of second-placed Iceland on goal difference, while Turkey and Ukraine have 14 points each.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Ken Ferris

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