In a now-deleted Facebook post, former Croatia manager Igor Stimac wonders if anyone knows “who exactly are we playing against in the finals” and lists 13 footballers from the French squad, pointing to their African descent.
Once the publication emerged on his account, Stimac came under fire on social media, with users accusing him of racism:
Racism from former Croatia manager Igor Štimac. What's funny here is the hypocrisy. Croatia nationalised Eduardo and Sammir, 2 black Brazilians born in Brazil to play for their national team at the 2014 World Cup. Atleast those French African players are born in France. Hypocrite pic.twitter.com/qvJYFXliBU— Hustler returns (@Hustler_Futbol) 14 июля 2018 г.
And yes, this is very different from the whole "France is the last African team in the tournament" vibe. That's a celebration—this is an attempt to de-legitimize these player's ties to (implied: white) France.— Liam Pierce (@LiamPierce) 13 июля 2018 г.
Utterly vile racism. Wonder if Modric or any of the Croatia players will condemn racism from their former manager and fans, the way they’ve spent hours talking about England fans singing a song. https://t.co/ansfTjE3GX— 🏴 Cheema 🏴 (@Cheema_FC) 14 июля 2018 г.
This adds to a string of scandals surrounding Team Croatia throughout the championship: after defeating Russia, Croatian defender Domagoj Vida was filmed yelling “Glory to Ukraine!” – an expression that was widely used by anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists during and after the 2014 Maidan coup.
Croatia’s Assistant Coach Ognjen Vukojevic, who was also seen in the video saying that the win over Russia was devoted to Ukraine and the football club Dinamo Kiev, was fired by the Croatian Football Union and received a $15,000 fine from FIFA for making a politically-charged clip.
The final match between Croatia and France will take place at the 78,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15 at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT).