Josip Šimunić

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Josip Šimunić
3 Simunic.JPG
Šimunić in Croatia's chequered jersey
Personal information
Full name Josip Šimunić
Date of birth (1978-02-18) 18 February 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Canberra, Australia
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1995–1996 Australian Institute of Sport
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1998 Melbourne Knights 30 (3)
1998–2000 Hamburger SV 8 (0)
2000–2009 Hertha BSC 222 (3)
2009–2011 1899 Hoffenheim 41 (1)
2011– Dinamo Zagreb 68 (3)
National team
2001–2013 Croatia 105 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 December 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 November 2013

Josip Šimunić (Croatian pronunciation: [jǒsip ʃîmunit͡ɕ]; born 18 February 1978) is a retired Croatian-Australian footballer. He has been playing for Croatia since 2001 till 2013, including participations in five major tournaments – World Cup 2002, World Cup 2006, Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 – and is the third most capped player in the history of the Croatia national team.

Club career[edit]

Šimunić was born in Canberra, Australia to Bosnian Croat immigrants from the Otigošće village near Fojnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in what was then Yugoslavia.[1] He received early football training at the Australian Institute of Sport. 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 1998.

Hertha BSC[edit]

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

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim[edit]

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 Zagreb[edit]

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.[3] 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 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 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.

International career[edit]

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. 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 great football technique, despite being a centre-half. His national teammate Niko Kranjčar says that, "on a training pitch, he does feints like Ronaldinho."[4]

Controversies[edit]

Salute after Croatia-Iceland game[edit]

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 having directed the crowd in a chant following the game. The use of the salute Za dom ("For the home"), with the fans responding, Spremni ("Ready!") was reminiscent of the salute used by the fascist Ustaše movement in Croatia during World War II.[5]

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."[6] For this incident Šimunić was fined 25,000 kunas (around 3,000 euros) by the Croatian State Attorney's Office for inciting racial hatred and harassment of other participants of a public gathering.[7] 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 euros).[8] 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.[7] 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 a backward rightists, and as backward country where minority rights are being violated to promote and glorify fascism,[9] others such as the Croatian Football Federation and Niko Kovač, manager of the national football team, have described the suspension as excessive and draconian.[10] Šimunić appealed to FIFA to rescind his suspension, but lost his appeal in March 2014.[11] His lawyers responded by claiming that a "Greater Serbian lobby" was to blame for FIFA's decision.[12]

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.[13][14] The parties were heard at a hearing which took place at the CAS offices on 8 May 2014.[13] The CAS arbitration committee in charge of this matter unanimously rejected the arguments of the player and dismissed his appeal, on 12 May 2014.[13][14] A three-member committee was composed of Hendrik Kesler from the Netherlands, Luigi Fumaggalli from Italy and Marc Balmelli from Switzerland.[14] The CAS confirmed the sanction imposed by FIFA against the player, who remains suspended for ten official matches, the first of which has to be served during the final competition of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, banned from entering the confines of the stadiums for those ten matches and also fined CHF 30,000.[13][14]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 14 December 2014[15][16]
Club statistics
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

International goals[edit]

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 6 September 2003 Comunal, Aixovall  Andorra
2 – 0
3 – 0
Euro 2004 Qualifying
2 18 August 2004 Stadion Varteksa, Varaždin  Israel
1 – 0
1 – 0
Friendly
3 26 March 2005 Maksimir, Zagreb  Iceland
2 – 0
4 – 0
World Cup 2006 Qualifying

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Zvanična FB stranica Zrinjskog: Svi smo mi Joe Šimunić" (in Croatian). klix.ba. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Joe Simunic: Eine Klasse für sich" (in German). kicker. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Josip Šimunić potpisao za Dinamo!" (in Croatian). gnkdinamo.hr. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Knjaz pokazao javnosti pravog Niku Kranjčara" (in Croatian). Retrieved 12 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "Croatia Defender Joe Simunic Led Crowd In Apparent Pro-Nazi Chant To Celebrate World Cup Berth (VIDEO)". huffingtonpost.com. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Australian-born Croatia defender Joe Simunic accused of using pro-Nazi chant after qualifying for World Cup". adelaidenow.com.au. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "DORH Šimunića kaznio s 25 tisuća kuna: Uzvikom "Za dom" raspirivao je mržnju!" [State Prosecution punished Simunic with 25 thousand kunas: By shouting "Za dom" he fueled hatred!] (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Croatian player sanctioned for discriminatory behaviour". FIFA. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Redžić, Dea (17 December 2013). "Jovanović za Index: Kazna Šimuniću potpuno je zaslužena! Ne želimo da nas gledaju kao nazadne desničare" [Jovanović to Index: Simunic's sentence is well deserved! We do not want to be seen as backward right-wingers] (in Croatian). Index.hr. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "Josip Simunic to miss World Cup after losing 10-game ban appeal". BBC. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Football: The appeal of Joe Simunic (Croatia) is rejected". Court of Arbitration for Sport. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d 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. 
  15. ^ "Josip Simunic career stats". Fussballdaten. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Josip Simunic". Soccerway. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 

External links[edit]