Josip Šimunić

Josip "Joe" Šimunić (Croatian pronunciation: [jǒsip ʃǐmunitɕ];[2][3] born 18 February 1978) is a Croatian retired footballer and current manager of the Croatia national under-19 team.

Josip Šimunić
Personal information
Full name Josip Šimunić
Date of birth (1978-02-18) 18 February 1978 (age 44)
Place of birth Canberra, Australia
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Croatia U19 (manager)
Youth career
0000–1993 Croatia Deakin
1993–1995 Australian Institute of Sport
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1997 Melbourne Knights 30 (3)
1997 Carlton S.C.[1]
1997–1999 Hamburger SV 8 (0)
1998–1999 Hamburger SV II 6 (0)
2000–2009 Hertha BSC 222 (3)
2009–2011 1899 Hoffenheim 41 (1)
2011–2014 Dinamo Zagreb 68 (3)
Total 369 (10)
National team
2001–2013 Croatia 105 (3)
Teams managed
2015–2017 Croatia (assistant)
2019– Croatia U19
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

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 fifth most capped player in the history of the Croatia national team.

Club careerEdit

Šimunić was born in Canberra, Australia, to Bosnian Croat immigrants from Otigošće near Fojnica.[4] He received early football training at Croatia Deakin in his hometown of Canberra before attending the Australian Institute of Sport program.[5] 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.[1]

Hertha BSCEdit

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 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.[6] Hertha finished in fourth place that season, with a defence that conceded only 41 goals, tied for third in the league with VfL Wolfsburg.

1899 HoffenheimEdit

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.

Dinamo ZagrebEdit

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.[7] 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 at Stadion Poljud. 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 Cufré, Igor Bišćan and Domagoj Vida. He made his UEFA Champions League debut against Lyon at Stade de Gerland. At the end of the season he won his first double with the club, as Dinamo won both the Prva HNL and the 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.

On 14 December 2014, Šimunić officially retired from professional football.[8][9]

International careerEdit

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 South 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. 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.

Šimunić is known for having had great football technique, despite having been a centre-half. His national teammate Niko Kranjčar said that, "on a training pitch, he did feints like Ronaldinho."[10]

Fascist salute controversyEdit

Šimunić was involved in a 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 Ustasha movement in Croatia during World War II.[11]

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."[12] For this incident Šimunić was fined 25,000 kunas by the State's Attorney Office of Croatia for inciting racial hatred and harassment of other participants of a public gathering.[13] 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).[14] Šimunić's behaviour was denounced by the Croatian Minister of Science, Education and Sports Željko Jovanović, the Association of Anti-Fascist Fighters of Croatia (SABH) and various foreign and domestic media.[13] The severity of suspension by FIFA was both criticized and embraced. 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.[15] Others, such as the Croatian Football Federation and Niko Kovač, manager of the national football team, have described the suspension as excessive and draconian.[16] Šimunić appealed to FIFA to rescind his suspension, but lost his appeal in March 2014.[17] His lawyers responded by claiming that a "Greater Serbian conspiracy" was to blame for FIFA's decision.[18]

On 9 April 2014, Šimunić and his lawyers filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and requested that the sanctions be cancelled or, alternatively, be stayed for a probation period of one year.[19][20] The parties were heard at a hearing which took place at the CAS offices on 8 May 2014.[19] The CAS arbitration committee in charge of this matter unanimously rejected the arguments of the player and dismissed his appeal, on 12 May 2014.[19][20] 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.[19][20]

In 2019, he's said for Sportske novosti: "I wasn't aware of the implications because I hadn't lived in Croatia for a long period of time and I hadn't felt such a division about certain questions, even if they were 'Za dom spremni'. So, to be very clear, I was not glorifying fascism, Nazism, or any other kind of totalitarianism. I was glorifying Croatia. I was convinced that was the right way. Today I understand there is a lot of those who think that is the wrong way." and "Being aware of the context and everything that had happened, today I would chant 'Croatia, Croatia'".[21]

Coaching careerEdit

On 22 September 2015, Šimunić was appointed an assistant manager of the Croatia national football team under the coaching staff of Ante Čačić, who was sacked in October 2017.[22]

On 10 May 2019, he became a new manager of the Croatia national under-19 football team.

Personal lifeEdit

Šimunić is married to Christina Koloper, a Croatian Canadian. On 5 September 2014, Koloper gave birth to the couple's first child.[23] The child passed away in 2018.[24]

On 24 August 2015, President and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was presented with a petition for the introduction of Za dom spremni to the official use in the Croatian Armed Forces. One of the petition signatories was Šimunić, alongside other prominent Croatian right-wing figures such as Josip Pečarić, Valentin Pozaić, Vlado Košić, Mirko Valentić, Zvonimir Šeparović, Nikola Štedul etc. President Grabar-Kitarović immediately rejected the petition, calling it "frivolous, unacceptable and provocative".[25]

Šimunić donated for the production of the 2016 Croatian documentary Jasenovac – istina that denies the Ustasha genocide of Serbs and Jews in the Jasenovac concentration camp during the World War II.[26]

Career statisticsEdit


Club Season League National Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hamburger SV 1997–98 Bundesliga 2 0 0 0 2 0
1999–2000 Bundesliga 6 0 0 0 6 0
Total 8 0 0 0 8 0
Hertha 2000–01 Bundesliga 14 0 2 0 1[a] 0 17 0
2001–02 Bundesliga 27 0 5 1 5[a] 0 37 1
2002–03 Bundesliga 22 1 4 0 4[a] 0 30 1
2003–04 Bundesliga 28 0 2 2 2[a] 0 32 2
2004–05 Bundesliga 30 0 2 0 32 0
2005–06 Bundesliga 18 0 5 0 2[a] 0 25 0
2006–07 Bundesliga 25 1 5 0 4[a] 0 1[b] 0 35 1
2007–08 Bundesliga 29 0 2 0 31 0
2008–09 Bundesliga 29 1 0 0 7[a] 0 36 0
Total 222 3 27 3 25 0 1 0 275 6
1899 Hoffenheim 2009–10 Bundesliga 31 1 0 0 31 1
2010–11 Bundesliga 10 0 1 0 11 0
2011–12 Bundesliga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 41 1 1 0 42 1
Dinamo Zagreb 2011–12 Prva HNL 11 0 2 0 3[c] 0 15 0
2012–13 Prva HNL 25 1 0 0 10[c] 0 35 1
2013–14 Prva HNL 27 2 6 2 11[d] 0 1[e] 0 45 4
2014–15 Prva HNL 5 0 1 0 9[c] 1 1[e] 0 16 1
Total 68 3 9 2 33 1 2 0 112 6
Career total 339 7 37 5 58 1 3 0 437 13
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  2. ^ Appearances in UEFA Intertoto Cup
  3. ^ a b c Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ 6 appearances in UEFA Champions League and 5 in UEFA Europa League
  5. ^ a b Appearances in Croatian Supercup


Year Apps Goals
2001 2 0
2002 8 0
2003 9 1
2004 13 1
2005 8 1
2006 9 0
2007 9 0
2008 11 0
2009 6 0
2010 8 0
2011 9 0
2012 7 0
2013 6 0
Total 105 3

International goalsEdit

No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 6 September 2003 Estadi Comunal d'Aixovall, Aixovall, Andorra
Euro 2004 Qualifying
2 18 August 2004 Stadion Varteks, Varaždin, Croatia
3 26 March 2005 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia
World Cup 2006 Qualifying



Melbourne Knights

Herta BSC

Dinamo Zagreb

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Josip Simunic". (in German). Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Jòsip". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Jòsip
  3. ^ "Šȉmūn". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Šìmunić
  4. ^ "Zvanična FB stranica Zrinjskog: Svi smo mi Joe Šimunić" (in Croatian). 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  5. ^ Polkinghorne, David (5 February 2016). "Documentary helps Josip Simunic continue his fight to clear his name after FIFA ban". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Joe Simunic: Eine Klasse für sich" (in German). kicker. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Josip Šimunić potpisao za Dinamo!" (in Croatian). 31 August 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Josip Šimunić Ends Dinamo Zagreb Career". Croatia Week. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Josip Simunic on All Night Appetite". YouTube. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Knjaz pokazao javnosti pravog Niku Kranjčara" (in Croatian). 7 March 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Croatia Defender Joe Simunic Led Crowd In Apparent Pro-Nazi Chant To Celebrate World Cup Berth (VIDEO)". 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Australian-born Croatia defender Joe Simunic accused of using pro-Nazi chant after qualifying for World Cup". 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  13. ^ a b "DORH Šimunića kaznio s 25 tisuća kuna: Uzvikom "Za dom" raspirivao je mržnju!" [State Prosecution punished Šimunić with 25 thousand kunas: By shouting "Za dom" he fueled hatred!] (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Croatian player sanctioned for discriminatory behaviour". FIFA. 16 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  15. ^ Redžić, Dea (17 December 2013). "Jovanović za Index: Kazna Šimuniću potpuno je zaslužena! Ne želimo da nas gledaju kao nazadne desničare" [Jovanović to Index: Šimunić's sentence is well deserved! We do not want to be seen as backward right-wingers] (in Croatian). Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  16. ^ "VRBANOVIĆ: 'Vjerojatno ćemo se žaliti'; KOVAČ: 'Užasno mi je žao Joea..." [Vrbanović: We'll probably appeal'; Kovač: 'I'm terribly sorry for Joe ...] (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Josip Simunic to miss World Cup after losing 10-game ban appeal". BBC. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  18. ^ 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 Šimunić is a victim of the Greater Serbian conspiracy and his human rights are being violated!"] (in Croatian).
  19. ^ a b c d "Football: The appeal of Joe Simunic (Croatia) is rejected" (PDF). Court of Arbitration for Sport. 12 May 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  20. ^ a b c G. I. (12 May 2014). "Pročitajte presudu Šimuniću: "Nedvojbeno koristio je ustaški pozdrav"" [Read the judgment on Joe Šimunić: "He has undoubtedly used the Ustasha salute"] (in Croatian). Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  21. ^ Mamić, Tomislav (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.
  22. ^ "Croatia hire Josip Simunic as assistant coach despite pro-Nazi chant". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Josip Šimunić Becomes a Father for First Time". Croatia Week. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Joe Šimunić and his wife talk about the tragedy of losing their daughter". Croatia Week. 14 October 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  25. ^ HINA (24 August 2015). "BIZARNU PETICIJU POTPISAO I ŠIMUNIĆ Od predsjednice traže uvođenje pozdrava 'Za dom spremni' u Oružane snage!". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  26. ^ Danijel Ivanković (2 April 2016). "Josip Šimunić i Jakov Sedlar otkrili čime se trenutno bave" [Josip Šimunić and Jakov Sedlar Reveal What They're Currently Up To] (in Croatian). Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Josip Simunic career stats". Fussballdaten. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  28. ^ "Josip Simunic". Soccerway. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Josip Šimunić". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Josip Simunic - Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 12 March 2019.

External linksEdit