ZAGREB, 10 May, 2019 – Former Croatian international and assistant coach Joe Šimunić (41) has been named head coach of the Croatia U-19 team, HNS confirmed on Friday.
Šimunić, who played for Croatia 105 times was assistant coach of the national team under Ante Čačić during the EURO 2016 qualifying, finals and part of the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign before they were sacked.
Šimunić replaces Ivan Gudelj and will lead the U-19 national team and his assistants will be former internationals Jerko Leko and Miroslav Žitnjak.
“My whole career is connected to the Croatian national team and that is why I am proud that I will be coach of the Croatian junior team. I look forward to this challenge and will give my maximum to give my guys experience and knowledge and encourage them to work hard to achieve their potential. Croatia always has a lot of talent to develop and I’m glad to have the opportunity to be part of that process. I thank the President, the Executive Board, the Executive Director and the Chief Instructor for the trust which I will try to justify with maximum engagement, as I did as a player. Let’s go now to work,” Šimunić said.
Šimunić played for Croatia from 2001 to 2013, playing in five major tournaments, including two World Cups (2002, 2006) and three EUROS (2004, 2008, 20012).
There has also been changes at U-20 level with former international Ognjen Vukojević taking over from Robert Jarni. Vukojević’s last position with the federation was as a scout for Zlatko Dalić. Stella Gotal was also named as coach of the Croatia U-17 girls team.
“I would like to thank the leadership of the Federation, led by President Šuker, in showing confidence in me. I’m extremely motivated to work with the best young Croatian players, and I think I can help with my experience and energy. Croatia is recognized in the world for the development of young players, and to continue it successfully, we need to keep working on the talent. I can only promise this as a coach and I will work hard to help all the players in development in those crucial years,” Vukojević said.