Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Croatian Fans Celebrate World Cup Berth with Nazi Chant

Croatian defender Joe Simunic took the microphone after his team defeated Iceland 2-0, shouting slogans that were used by the Ustashas, a WWII-era pro-Nazi organization

By: Daniel Koren

Published: November 20th, 2013 in Sports » World

Soccer (football) fans the world over have been rejoicing as of late, as the qualifying matches for next year’s FIFA World Cup 2014 have been taking place, like last night’s Brazil vs. Chile match at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

Unfortunately for Israel, no such cheering will take place. There’s always 2018, and who knows what to expect for World Cup 2022, which will take place in Qatar.

Doesn’t seem likely that they will welcome Israel with grace and aplomb on the chance that we do qualify.

The unfortunate news seems to keep rolling in; yesterday, after Iceland defeated Croatia 2-0, qualifying for the FIFA tournament in the process, Croatian defender Joe Simunic took to the microphone, shouting to the screaming Croatian fans: “For the homeland!” to which they responded, “Ready!”

Seems like a rather innocuous chant to celebrate Croatia’s win. Unfortunately, it’s marred with a very nasty, racist historical background.

During the World War II era, the same chant was used as a war call by the Ustashas, a Croatian pro-Nazi regime that ruled the country at the time.

Tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and others were sent off to Nazi concentration camps at the hands of the Ustashas.

The 35-year-old Simunic, an Australian native, however, did not apologize for his actions. “Some people have to learn some history,” the Associated Press quotes him as saying. “I’m not afraid.”

“I did nothing wrong,” he continued. “I’m supporting my Croatia, my homeland. If someone has something against it, that’s their problem.”

This is not the first time Croatians have used the Nazi-era chant during a soccer match. FIFA and the UEFA have fined the Croatian Football Association in the past for allowing such chants to be made.

Neither FIFA or UEFA have commented on the incident, yet.

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