Injured Rebic out of Croatia's opening World Cup qualifiers

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FILE PHOTO: World Cup - Final - France v Croatia

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia's AC Milan winger Ante Rebic will miss their opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers versus Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta with a muscle injury, the Balkan nation's FA (HNS) said on Friday.

Kristijan Lovric, who plays for Croatian top-tier side HNK Gorica, was called up to replace Rebic as the 2018 World Cup runners-up get their qualifying campaign underway.

"National team coach Zlatko Dalic and the medical staff have been in contact with Rebic and the medical staff of his club AC Milan and it has been established he will miss the opening three World Cup qualifiers," the HNS said in a statement.

Croatia visit neighbours Slovenia in their opening Group H match next Wednesday followed by home games against Cyprus on Saturday and Malta three days later.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris)