Football Fans Arriving at Luzhniki Stadium For England-Croatia Match

WATCH Croatia Fans Unfurl 'Thank You Russia' Banner Amid 'Glory to Ukraine' Spat

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov
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Croatian football fans expressed their gratitude for Russia's hospitality as World Cup host following Domagoj Vida's inflammatory remarks associated with anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists and hateful language against Serbs.

Several hundred Croatian football fans brought a giant 'Sbasibo Rossiya!' ('Thank You Russia!') banner to central Moscow, just off Red Square.

The 50 meter wide Croatia-themed banner covered a large portion of the square. Fans also brought the banner to Victory Square near the Mayakovsky monument.

"Thank You Russia! Croatian fans in Moscow for WC-2018 brought a giant banner to the capital with the phrase "Thank You Russia". The 50 meter banner was unfurled in the center of the city on Victory Square."

"Thank You Russia — here's the banner Croatians have unfurled!"

The banner was an apparent effort by fans to apologize and make up for the controversy surrounding Croatian footballer Domagoj Vida, who appeared on video with assistant coach Ognjen Vukojevic holding a beer and shouting "Glory to Ukraine!" and "Burn, Belgrade!" as Vukojevic looked on following Croatia's win in the game against Russia.

FIFA is reportedly looking into the footage to see whether it warrants a suspension for Vida from the rest of the tournament. Vukojevic has already been suspended, with FIFA adhering to a zero tolerance policy for discrimination on political grounds. The Croatian Football Federation has apologized for its members' behavior, and Vida has expressed regret over the remarks.

Vida's comments prompted some Russian fans to turn away from Croatia ahead of Wednesday's Croatia-England semifinal match. 40.7% plan to root for England, with 17% rooting for Croatia, according to a RIA Novosti poll. The Croatia-England game kicked off at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium at 9 pm local time.


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