Australian born Croatian defender has probably played his last game for the Croatian national team after he received a ten match ban from world governing body FIFA.
The ban has come about because following the match in which Croatia hosted Iceland in Zagreb on November 19, which was a decisive qualifying match for next years World Cup Finals in Brazil following a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the tie, Croatia won 2-0 and the 35-year-old Simunic took a microphone on the pitch and shouted to supporters: “For the homeland!” The fans responded: “Ready!” This was a pro nazi World War II-era slogan used by Croatia’s then-puppet regime. Simunic had protested at the time of the charge that he had done nothing wrong, FIFA did not agree.
On the face of it, his actions seem to have been foolish and will undoubtedly have tarnished a glittering career. Simunic will miss the whole World Cup tournament in Brazil and is also barred from the stadiums where Croatia will play its next 10 games. FIFA also fined Simunic 30,000 Swiss francs ($33,800) and the Croatia football federation was also fined 70,000 Swiss francs ($78,700).
Controversy seems to be the thing for which his career will forever be remembered. First of all having attended the Australian Institute of Sport Simunic turned his back on representing Australia and opted to play for Croatia. Then in the 2006 World Cup in Germany he famously received three yellow cards in the one game before being sent off against Australia.
Hopefully some people will remember him for his footballing ability first and foremost. As he has been a wonderful player for Croatia, having played 105 times and is the third most caped player, and some would say he is the best player produced by Australia never to play for the country.