Croatia’s World Cup qualification celebrations were overshadowed by video footage of one of its players doing a call-and-response chant with the crowd that used to be used during the country’s pro-Nazi years. Immediately following Croatia’s 2-0 win against Iceland in Zagreb, which secured the former Yugoslavian republic’s passage to the World Cup, defender Joe Simunic took a microphone toward the fans in the stadium and shouted: “For the homeland!” to which they would respond: “Ready!” According to ESPN, that was the war call of the Ustashas, Croatia’s pro-Nazi regime during World War II.
When questioned, Simunic, who is Australian-born, defended his actions, saying, "some people have to learn some history. I'm not afraid. I did nothing wrong. I'm supporting my Croatia, my homeland," the 35-year-old defender said. "If someone has something against it, that's their problem."
Croatian fans have used this chant in the past and FIFA and UEFA have fined the Croatian soccer federation as a result.
Meanwhile, Croatian media was not supportive of Simunic, with several publications calling his chants “a disgrace.” Croatian daily 24sata said: "Our team has waited for this celebration for a long time and Joe ruins everything.”