Zurich – Croatia defender Josip Simunic will miss the World Cup after being banned for 10 official matches for leading a pro-Nazi chant with fans after his team qualified for next year's finals in Brazil.
Simunic took up a microphone following Croatia's play-off match against Iceland and shouted to supporters: “For the homeland!” The fans responded: “Ready!” The call was used by the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that ruled the state during World War II.
Fifa said Monday that the salute was “discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning ... race, religion or origin.”
Simunic has also been banned from entering the stadiums where Croatia will play those 10 games.
Simunic previously defended his action, saying he was driven by love for his country. – Sapa-AP