Šimunić with Croatia in 2008
|Full name||Josip Šimunić|
|Date of birth||18 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Canberra, ACT, Australia|
|Height||1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|Croatia U19 (manager)|
|1993–1995||Australian Institute of Sport|
|1998–1999||Hamburger SV II||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Australia to Bosnian-Croat parents, Šimunić started his career at Melbourne Knights then moved to Germany where he spent 14 seasons in the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV, Hertha BSC and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim before finishing his career in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb.
He played for Croatia from 2001 to 2013, appeared in five major tournaments for Croatia – 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008 and 2012 European Championships – and is the third most capped player in the history of the Croatia national team.
Šimunić was born in Canberra, Australia, to Bosnian Croat immigrants from Otigošće near Fojnica. He received early football training at Croatia Deakin in his hometown of Canberra before attending the Australian Institute of Sport program. The defender broke into the Melbourne Knights first team as a teenager in the 1995–96 season and ended it with a championship medal and 1996 NSL Youth Player of the Year award. Šimunić scored his first goals the following term, three in 14 outings, before moving to Europe to join Hamburger SV in 1997.
Šimunić moved to Hertha BSC in 2000 after having fallen out with Hamburg coach Frank Pagelsdorf and has since become an integral member of a team which has enjoyed occasional forays in the UEFA Cup. He expressed on The World Game on SBS television that he wishes to return to Australia to live after concluding his career in Europe. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Šimunić was named the best centre-half in the Bundesliga by kicker magazine. Hertha finished in fourth place that season, with a defence that conceded only 41 goals, tied for third in the league with VfL Wolfsburg.
After nine years with Hertha, he left the club on 30 June 2009 to sign with TSG Hoffenheim on a contract which was to run out on 30 June 2012.
On 31 August 2011, the board of Dinamo Zagreb confirmed signing of Šimunić on a free transfer in a contract that expires on 30 June 2013. Šimunić was signed by the club in order to re-enforce their team for UEFA Champions League matches. He made his official debut in Croatian biggest derby match, between eternal rivals Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, on Poljud Stadium. During his first season with the club he made only 11 domestic league appearances, as he struggled to find his regular spot in the starting lineup due to injuries and tough competition in the team's defensive lineup that included Tonel, Leandro Cufre, Igor Bišćan and Domagoj Vida. He made his UEFA Champions League debut against Lyon on Stade de Gerland. At the end of the season he won his first double with the club, as Dinamo won both the Croatian league and Croatian Cup.
In the beginning of his second season with the club he established himself as the first choice centre-half and regular starter. He played fully 90 minutes in each of six Dinamo's group-stage matches in 2012–13 UEFA Champions League.
Šimunić was educated at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). He was eligible to play for Australia but opted to play for Croatia, even though his parents were from Bosnia and Herzegovina and not Croatia, albeit of Croatian ethnicity in Bosnia. After obtaining dual citizenship in October 2001 he made his international debut in Croatia's friendly match against South Korea on 10 November 2001. Šimunić did not play in any of Croatia's qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup, but was given a place in the squad for the finals after injury forced Igor Tudor out. He played all three of Croatia's matches in Korea and Japan. He also played in the Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup, and Euro 2008, performing well in the latter tournament.
In a well-publicised incident, Šimunić was sent off in Croatia's final 2006 World Cup match against Australia. Šimunić having picked up a booking in the 61st minute, the referee Graham Poll took out a yellow card for his tackle in the 90th minute, but did not actually send him off. At the conclusion of the game three minutes later, however, Šimunić remonstrated with Poll and received a "third" yellow card, this time followed by a red card. The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) initially noted all three bookings in its match report, before later removing the 90th minute (second) booking. This prompted the removal of Poll from the knockout stages referee pool. Shortly after the World Cup, Poll retired from refereeing international games, citing this game as a direct cause. Upon the release of his autobiography in 2007, Poll revealed that, upon booking Šimunić for the second time, he had erroneously recorded him as "Australia #3" (who was defender Craig Moore), due to Šimunić's Australian accent.
Salute after Croatia-Iceland gameEdit
Šimunić was involved in controversy following a 2–0 win for Croatia against Iceland in Zagreb on 19 November 2013. He was accused of neo-Nazi sympathies for having directed the crowd in a chant following the game. The use of the salute Za dom ("For homeland"), with the fans responding, Spremni ("Ready!"), was identical to the salute used by the fascist Ustaše movement in Croatia during World War II.
He defended his actions saying that he was driven by "love for his Croatian homeland". After the match, Šimunić responded to his critics: "Those who are bothered by those shouts should study history. If it bothers someone, then it's their problem. I'm not afraid." For this incident Šimunić was fined 25,000 kunas (around €3,000) by the Croatian State Attorney's Office for inciting racial hatred and harassment of other participants of a public gathering. After an investigation FIFA suspended Šimunić for ten official matches, banned him from entering the confines of the stadiums for those ten matches and imposed a fine of CHF 30,000 (around €24,000). Šimunić's behaviour was denounced by the Croatian Minister of Sports Željko Jovanović, the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters of Croatia (SABH) and various foreign and domestic media. The severity of suspension by FIFA was both criticized and embraced – while Jovanović called it expected and deserving, sending a strong message that Croatians do not want to be perceived by Europe as backward rightists, and as a country where minority rights are being violated to promote and glorify fascism, others such as the Croatian Football Federation and Niko Kovač, manager of the national football team, have described the suspension as excessive and draconian. Šimunić appealed to FIFA to rescind his suspension, but lost his appeal in March 2014. His lawyers responded by claiming that a "Greater Serbian lobby" was to blame for FIFA's decision.
On 9 April 2014, Šimunić and his lawyers filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) located in Lausanne, Switzerland, and requested that the sanctions be cancelled or, alternatively, be stayed for a probation period of one year. The parties were heard at a hearing which took place at the CAS offices on 8 May 2014. The CAS arbitration committee in charge of this matter unanimously rejected the arguments of the player and dismissed his appeal, on 12 May 2014. A three-member committee was composed of Hendrik Kesler from the Netherlands, Luigi Fumaggalli from Italy and Marc Balmelli from Switzerland. The CAS confirmed the sanction imposed by FIFA against the player, who remained suspended for ten official matches, the first of which had to be served during the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and banned from entering the confines of the stadiums for those ten matches and also fined CHF 30,000.
In 2019, he's said for Sportske novosti: "I wasn't aware of implications because I hadn't lived in Croatia for a long period of time and I hadn't felt such division about certain questions, even if they were Za dom spremni. Therefore, it's very clear that I wasn't glorifying fascism, Nazism, or any other kind of totalitarianism. I was glorifying Croatia. I was convinced that was the right way." and "Being aware of the context and everything that had happened, today I would chant Croatia, Croatia".
On 10 May 2019, he became a new manager of the Croatia national under-19 football team.
|Dinamo Zagreb||2011–12||Prva HNL||11||0||2||0||3[c]||0||—||15||0|
|1||6 September 2003||Estadi Comunal d'Aixovall, Aixovall, Andorra||Andorra||Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|2||18 August 2004||Stadion Varteksa, Varaždin, Croatia||Israel||Friendly|
|3||26 March 2005||Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia||Iceland||World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
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- "VRBANOVIĆ: 'Vjerojatno ćemo se žaliti'; KOVAČ: 'Užasno mi je žao Joea..." [Vrbanovic: We'll probably appeal'; Kovac: 'I'm terribly sorry for Joe ...] (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
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- S.Č. (23 March 2014). "Evo žalbe sportskom sudu: "Josip Šimunić je žrtva velikosrpske urote i krše mu se ljudska prava!"" [Here is the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport: "Josip Simunic is a victim of the great Serbian conspiracy and his human rights are being violated!"] (in Croatian). Index.hr.
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- G.I. (12 May 2014). "Pročitajte presudu Šimuniću: "Nedvojbeno koristio je ustaški pozdrav"" [Read the judgment on Joe Simunic: "He has undoubtedly used the Ustase salute"] (in Croatian). Index.hr. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Tomislav Mamić (3 February 2019). "JOE ŠIMUNIĆ PRVI PUT O VEČERI U MAKSIMIRU KOJA MU JE PROMIJENILA ŽIVOT Da se može vratiti vrijeme, ne bih vikao 'Za dom', nego 'Hrvatska, Hrvatska!'" [JOE ŠIMUNIĆ FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT THE NIGHT AT MAKSIMIR THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE If I could turn back time, I wouldn't have chanted 'Za dom' but 'Croatia, Croatia!'] (in Croatian). Sportske novosti. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
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