Igor Štimac

Igor Štimac (pronounced [îgor ʃtǐːmats];[1][2] born 6 September 1967) is a Croatian football coach and former player who played as a centre back. He is the current head coach of the India national team.[3]

Igor Štimac
Igor Štimac 2016.jpg
Štimac with Sepahan at press conference, 2016
Personal information
Date of birth (1967-09-06) 6 September 1967 (age 55)
Place of birth Metković, SR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s) Defender
Team information
Current team
India (head coach)
Youth career
Neretva Metković
1984–1985 Hajduk Split
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1992 Hajduk Split 64 (3)
1986–1987Dinamo Vinkovci (loan) 31 (2)
1992–1994 Cádiz 62 (4)
1994–1995 Hajduk Split 27 (2)
1995–1999 Derby County 84 (3)
1999–2001 West Ham United 43 (1)
2001–2002 Hajduk Split 11 (2)
Total 322 (17)
International career
1987 Yugoslavia U20 14 (2)
1990–2002 Croatia 53 (2)
Managerial career
2005 Hajduk Split
2006 Cibalia
2009–2010 NK Zagreb
2012–2013 Croatia
2015 Zadar
2015–2016 Sepahan
2016–2017 Al-Shahania
2019– India
2019– India U23
Men's football
Representing  Yugoslavia
Gold medal – first place FIFA U-20 World Cup 1987
Silver medal – second place UEFA U-21 Euro 1990
Representing  Croatia
Bronze medal – third place FIFA World Cup 1998
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

In his playing career, Štimac had three spells with Hajduk Split and also played for Cádiz in Spain, and for Derby County and West Ham United in England. He represented the Croatia national team 53 times, playing at Euro 1996 and at the 1998 World Cup, when Croatia finished third. He also represented Yugoslavia when they won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship.

As a manager, Štimac was in charge of the Croatia national team from 2012 to 2013. In club football, he has had brief spells in charge of Hajduk Split, Cibalia, NK Zagreb, Zadar, Iranian club Sepahan and Qatari club Al-Shahania. On 15 May 2019, Štimac was appointed as the head coach of India national team on a two-year contract.[4]

Club careerEdit

At the club level Štimac played for his local Croatian club Hajduk Split and, most notably, the English club Derby County.[5][6][7] Štimac arrived at the Baseball Ground on 31 October 1995 for a fee of £1.5 million from Hajduk Split.[8] He scored a goal on his debut for the Rams away at Tranmere, but the Rams fell to a heavy 5–1 defeat. The rest of the season was more successful, as Derby gained promotion and remained unbeaten in 20 consecutive matches.

Štimac played nearly four years with the Rams,[9][10] and made 84 league appearances for the Rams, in addition to seven FA Cup appearances and two League Cup appearances. He was sold on 29 August 1999 to West Ham United for £600,000, where he scored once, against Newcastle United.[11]

International careerEdit

Štimac played for the Croatia national team, winning 53 caps and scoring two goals,[12] and formed part of a Croatia squad that won the bronze medal at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. His final international was a February 2002 friendly match against Bulgaria.[13]

Previously, Štimac was a member of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile, playing four games and scoring two goals in the tournament.[14]

International goalsEdit

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 3 September 1995 Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia   Estonia
6 – 1
7 – 1
Euro 1996 Qualifying
2 26 March 1996 Stadion Varteks, Varaždin, Croatia   Israel
1 – 0
2 – 0

Managerial careerEdit

Štimac during Sepahan training session in November 2015

Early daysEdit

Štimac started his managerial career in 2001, taking charge of the Hajduk Split football academy and also acting as the club's sport director. Hajduk won two championships during this time (2003–04 and 2004–05).[15] In 2004–05 season he took managerial position for the last 10 games after replacing Blaž Slišković. With many difficulties he managed to win championship but lost the cup final to HNK Rijeka. In the spring of 2006, he also spent a few months coaching Croatian first division side Cibalia, saving them from relegation. On 14 September 2009, he was appointed as the new NK Zagreb manager after they lost the first seven games of the season, replacing Luka Pavlović.[16] However Štimac managed to save NK Zagreb from relegation and left the club at the end of the season.

Croatia national teamEdit

On 5 July 2012, Štimac was appointed as the new Croatia national football team manager, after the departure of his former national team teammate Slaven Bilić. His first match as Croatia manager came in a friendly game against Switzerland at Poljud Stadium, which ended in a disappointing 2–4 loss.[17] Despite that loss, Croatia entered the 2014 World Cup qualifies in decent fashion, taking 16 points from first six games. However, the results were not representative of Croatia's form on the pitch, as the team only had a goal difference of +7 from those six matches and scored the majority of their goals from set pieces, counterattacks, and defensive errors by their opponents.[18] Then started a period of very poor results starting with a 0–1 loss to Scotland at Maksimir on 7 June 2013.[19] Following this Croatia lost 0–1 in a friendly match to Portugal on 10 June 2013 and then barely beat 148th ranked Liechtenstein 3–2 in a friendly match thanks to an 86th-minute goal by Eduardo on 14 August 2013.[20][21]

In their next world cup qualifying match, Croatia drew 1–1 against rivals Serbia in Belgrade, despite only having one shot on target and two shots overall.[22] This was followed by another loss at home at Maksimir, this time to eventual group winners Belgium with a result of 1–2.[23] With only one World Cup qualifying match to go, Štimac had become widely unpopular in Croatia with one poll conducted by popular domestic newspaper 24sata resulting in 98% of voters in favor of sacking Štimac.[24] On 15 October 2013, Croatia lost their final World Cup qualifying match 0–2 against Scotland.[25] After the 0–2 loss to Scotland, Štimac tendered his resignation to the HNS president, former star footballer and national team teammate of Štimac, Davor Šuker. The following day, Šuker accepted his resignation.[26] Croatia ending qualifying as the second to last ranked second place team, having only one more point than last placed Denmark, thus taking the final play-off round spot.

Despite some criticism Štimac managed to take the FIFA Ranking of Croatia to 4th position just behind Spain, Germany and Argentina, respectively.[27] Players like Mateo Kovačić[28] and Alen Halilović[29] also made their debuts for the Croatia national team during Štimac's stint.


In the beginning of 2015, Štimac was named as new manager at Prva HNL club Zadar.[30] Štimac quit after only six months in charge, as club was administratively relegated to second division by the licensing board of the HNS due to financial irregularities 3 games before the league ended.[31] Following Štimac's resignation, Zadar club president Josip Bajlo said, "I would like to thank Mr. Štimac for the five months that he has worked in Zadar, and he has still done the best in such situation".[32]


Štimac during a match between Sepahan and Naft Tehran

On 12 November 2015, he became head coach of Sepahan, replacing Hossein Faraki. He resigned as Sepahan head coach on 20 April 2016, after a run of unsuccessful results which led Sepahan in the 11th place and out of both season's cups, Hazfi Cup and AFC Champions League.[33]

India national teamEdit

On 15 May 2019, the All India Football Federation announced him as the country's head coach after the departure of Stephen Constantine.[4] His first campaign with India was 2019 King's Cup where his first match as head coach was against Curaçao, which ended up as 3−1 loss[34] where he has given six players their international debut[35] but in the next match against the host Thailand he managed the team to a 1−0 victory acquiring the third place in the tournament and his first win after his appointment as the head coach.[36]

For 2022 World Cup qualification, his campaign with India started with a 1–2 home loss to Oman,[37] but steered the team to earn a respectable point after managing a draw against the 2019 Asian Champion and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar.[38] Despite this, India only managed draws against much lower ranked teams, Bangladesh at home and Afghanistan in away.[39][40] India went on to be beaten by Oman and Qatar, as well as gaining only a draw over Afghanistan with their only win in the qualification being, a 2–0 win against neighbour Bangladesh, to finish in third place with only six points gained, thus not qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, even though it was the highest position India gained since the 2002 qualification that guaranteed India a place in the upcoming 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification.[41][42][43][44]

Stimac took India to the 2023 AFC Asia Cup in Qatar after a 2 to nil victory over Cambodia, a 2 to 1 victory over Afghanistan and a 4 to nil victory over Hong Kong, on the 8th, 11th and 14th of June, 2022, respectively; at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, West Bengal, Republic of India.[citation needed]

This achievement of his resulted in the first time that India have qualified twice in a row for the AFC Asia Cup.

As the coach of the Indian National Team, Stimac has achieved 11 victories, which equals his previous best of 11 wins as coach for NK Zagreb.

On 22 March 2023 and 28th March 2023, Stimac led India to a 1-0 victory over Myanmar and a 2-0 victory over Krygyzstan at the Khuman Lampak, Imphal, Manipur, Republic of India. These are the very first Internationals ever played in the NorthEast of India and culminated in India winning the 2023 TriNations Series Trophy, under Stimac's guidance.[citation needed]

Indian U23Edit

Stimac took charge of the India national under-23 football team at the start of their qualification campaign for the 2022 AFC Under 23 Cup in Uzbekistan, by playing three games for Group E in the centralised venue at the Fujairah Stadium, Fujairah, UAE.

On 24 October 2021, he started his tenure with a 2 to 1 victory over the Oman U23 team in Group E encounter in Fujairah.

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of match played 28 March 2023
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
P W D L Win %
NK Zagreb 14 September 2009 14 May 2010 27 11 7 9 040.7
Croatia 5 July 2012 16 October 2013 15 8 2 5 053.3
NK Zadar 8 January 2015 16 July 2015 19 5 4 10 026.3
Sepahan S.C. 11 November 2015 21 April 2016 21 2 11 8 009.5
Al-Shahania SC 28 December 2016 23 May 2017 16 2 7 7 012.5
India 15 May 2019 present 32 11 10 11 034.4
India U23 15 May 2019 present 3 1 1 1 033.3
Total 133 40 42 51 030.1



Hajduk Split

Derby County

Yugoslavia U-20





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  4. ^ a b "AIFF APPOINTS IGOR STIMAC AS NEW MEN'S SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM COACH". the-aiff.com. AIFF. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Croatian World Cupper Igor Stimac set to be appointed coach". timesofindia.indiatimes.com. TOI. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  6. ^ "A new dawn for Indian football?". livemint.com. Live Mint. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
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  13. ^ "Player Database". EU-football. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  14. ^ Igor ŠtimacFIFA competition record (archived)
  15. ^ "Indian Football: Croatian Igor Stimac to be appointed head coach of National Team; Albert Roca misses out". sportskeeda.com. Sportskeeda. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  16. ^ Bradovski, Mihaela (14 September 2009). "Igor Štimac preuzima Kranjčevićevu".
  17. ^ "Hrvatska razočarala na početku Štimčeva mandata". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  18. ^ "Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic: Croatia's Terrifying Midfield Axis". Bleacher Report. 8 April 2014.
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  20. ^ "Croatia vs Portugal Match Report". goal.com. 10 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Croatia 3-2 Liechtenstein". ESPN Soccernet. 14 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Feisty Affair In Belgrade". ESPN Soccernet. 6 September 2013.
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  33. ^ "Štimac nakon šest mjeseci napustio iranski Sepahan". Germanijak.hr. 21 April 2016.
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External linksEdit