Football: Croatia lose another striker

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The Independent Online
THE Croatian striker Igor Cvitanovic has been sent home from his country's World Cup training squad by the coach, Miroslav Blazevic, after refusing to run a few extra training laps.

Cvitanovic, 27, who plays for the Spanish side Real Sociedad, will miss France 98 if Blazevic does not have a change of heart. However, the player should not hold his breath.

Blazevic, who is fanatical about discipline, said: "Cvitanovic is definitely eliminated. Not even the President can save him now."

Cvitanovic said: "I was exhausted. It seems some can have the luxury of being worn down and I can't,", alluding to Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Jarni, who were spared extra laps after complaining they were still worn out from a hectic club season.

Blazevic is considering calling up a substitute for the lanky forward. His 24-man squad are still shaken by the news that the in-form striker Alen Boksic will have to undergo knee surgery and is almost certain to miss next month's finals in France.

Jurgen Klinsmann, who is fighting for a starting role in Germany's team, has been forced to miss tonight's warm-up match against Finland in Helskinki because of a bruised shinbone.

Klinsmann collided with the defender Thomas Helmer in a training match on Tuesday and the soreness worsened. The 33-year-old team captain, who has been plagued by injuries this year, was flown to Munich for treatment. However, he is not expected to be ruled out for the World Cup.