Croatia's Ognjen Vukojevic listens to the national anthem ahead of the international soccer friendly match between Croatia and Mali, in Osijek, Croatia, Saturday, May 31, 2014.

Croatian Coaching Assistant Hailing 'Glory to Ukraine' Suspended From World Cup

© AP Photo / Darko Bandic
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has suspended coaching assistant Ognjen Vukojevic from his duties at this summer's FIFA World Cup in Russia, the federation announced on its official website on Monday.

"I understand and respect the Croatian Football Federation's decision, I don't want to burden the national team ahead of the World Cup semi-finals. There was no political message in my statement. But I realize that it can be interpreted differently. I regret it and apologize to the Russian fans if they understood my statement in this way," Vukojevic said as quoted by HNS.

The HNS has since apologized for the Croatian delegation members' behavior, and Vida also expressed regret for his words.

READ MORE: Croatia Defender Roasted by Media for 'Glory To Ukraine' Video After Russia Win

On Saturday night, a video showing Croatia defender Domagoj Vida shouting 'Glory to Ukraine!' and Vukojevic saying "This is a victory for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine" appeared on social media. Both of them previously played for Dynamo.

On Sunday, FIFA's Disciplinary Committee issued a warning to Vida, but did not ban the 29-year-old Besiktas player from the World Cup semi-finals.

Croatia beat hosts Russia on penalties in Sochi on Saturday following a 2-2 draw in extra time to book a spot in the World Cup semi-finals, where they will face England.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the final set to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.


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