Notifications

Croatian player yells Nazi war call at World Cup qualifier

Croatia 2-0 victory over Iceland in World Cup qualifying was marred by apparent pro-Nazi chants from fans in response to a war call by veteran defender Joe Simunic.

Joe Simunic shouts war call used by Ustashas in World War II

Croatia defender Josip Simunic (3) is challenged by Alfred Finnbogason in a 2-0 triumph over Iceland in Zagreb on Tuesday. (Darko Bandic/Associated Press)

Croatia's World Cup qualification celebrations have been overshadowed by apparent pro-Nazi chants by fans and defender Joe Simunic. 

Croatia qualified for the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Iceland on Tuesday.

Video footage shows Simunic taking a microphone to the field after the match and shouting to the fans: "For the homeland!" The fans respond: "Ready!" 

That was the war call used by Ustashas, the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that ruled the state during World War II when tens of thousands Jews, Serbs and others perished in concentration camps. 

The Australian-born Simunic, who faces disciplinary action by FIFA, defended his action. 

"Some people have to learn some history," the 35-year-old defender said. "I'm not afraid, I did nothing wrong.

"I'm supporting my Croatia, my homeland. If someone has something against it, that's their problem." 

The same chant coupled with the Nazi salute has often been used by Croatian fans in the past.

FIFA and UEFA have often sanctioned the Croatian Football Association because of their behavior. 

Two weeks ago, FIFA fined Croatia $38,000 for incidents, including fans making salute gestures during its previous match in Zagreb, a 2-1 loss to Belgium on Oct. 11. 

FIFA said Wednesday it was considering disciplinary action. 

"We are in the process of analyzing the different match officials' reports and gathering information," FIFA said in a statement. 

Simunic faces a possible suspension that could apply to matches in Brazil at the World Cup. 

At the 2006 World Cup, Simunic was the player who received three yellow cards in one match against Australia before being sent off. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.