Šimunić was given a 10 match ban from football’s governing body FIFA on Monday for a ‘fascist salute’ after Croatia’s World Cup qualifying victory over Iceland in Zagreb last month, meaning the towering Dinamo Zagreb captain will miss next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Šimunić has also been banned from entering the stadium for any of the country’s matches and ordered to pay a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (£20,700).
The ban has been called ‘draconian’ by Croatia Football Federation (HNS) executive chairman Damir Vrbanović, who will appeal the decision, and it has shocked Croatia coach Niko Kovač.
“I am unpleasantly surprised, shocked and disappointed with FIFA’s ban for Šimunić. I feel sorry for Josip who will miss the World Cup, I know him a long time as a person and I am absolutely certain that he did not mean to offend anybody in any way,” Kovač said.