Croatia and Besiktas center-back Domagoj Vida and former Croatian player, Ognjen Vukojevic, have come under criticism across Croatia's mass media after his controversial video that showed him shout "Glory to Ukraine!" emerged on the internet.
In a swift response to the politically-charged comments, Croatia kicked Ognjen Vukojevic out of its World Cup delegation.
The media outlet Sportarena recalled that Vida and Vukojevic had played for Ukrainian clubs for quite a long time. Given that Russia-Ukraine relations have not been "very good," Sportarena says the video can be interpreted as a "direct provocation."
While dnevno.hr claims that the two players "walked along the line," Index says that although Vida faced harsh criticism at home, it was not because of "Croatians' love for Russia, but because of FIFA's possible sanctions."
FIFA has sent a warning to the Besiktas defender over his conduct, as the organization forbids political slogans in any form. Vida, however, hasn't been banned from his side's Wednesday's semifinal with England.
On Sunday the 29-year-old, who previously played for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev, claimed that his comments were "definitely not a political message, but a simple thank you for all the support from Ukraine."
"I am happy to speak the Russian language, I enjoy Russian hospitality at the 2018 World Cup and I sincerely hope that this message will not be understood as anything else but an expression of gratitude to our friends in Ukraine for their support — not in the match against Russia, but during the entire World Cup."
A video appeared on social media on Saturday night showing two ex-players of Dynamo Kiev, Domagoj Vida and Ognjen Vukojevic. Former Croatia midfielder Vukojevic said "this is a victory for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine," while Vida shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" (an infamous greeting of Ukrainian nationalists, which has been widely used since the 2014 Maidan protests).