ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) Croatia has hired former defender Josip Simunic, who was banned for 10 games for leading fans in a pro-Nazi chant, to assist new national team coach Ante Cacic.
Simunic missed the 2014 World Cup over the incident in the qualifying playoff against Iceland in 2013.
It highlighted Croatian football’s ongoing struggle with discrimination.
Croatia has been deducted one point in its European Championship qualifying group after a swastika was painted on the field before June’s match against Italy. Croatia must play its next two home qualifiers in an empty stadium.
Simunic is on the coaching staff of Cacic, who has been given a contract through the 2018 World Cup. He won the domestic double with Dinamo Zagreb in 2012.
Croatian federation president Davor Suker says ”we rely on Croatian brains.”