Josip Simunic 'thanking fans' with pro-Nazi chant
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Josip Simunic 'thanking fans' with pro-Nazi chant

Canberra FC president Marko Vrkic believes former player Joe Simunic didn't intend to cause trouble when he used a pro-Nazi chant after Croatia qualified for the World Cup.

Croatia's public prosecutors fined Simunic €3200 ($4695) on Thursday for ''spreading racial hatred''.

Croatia's Josip Simunic played his junior football in Australia.

Croatia's Josip Simunic played his junior football in Australia.

Soccer's governing body, FIFA, is also considering taking action against the 35-year-old.

In celebrating Croatia's 2-0 win against Iceland on Tuesday, Simunic grabbed a microphone and shouted to fans: ''For the homeland!'' The fans responded: ''Ready!''

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Infamous moment ... referee Graham Poll books Croatia's Josip Simunic three times during the 2006 World Cup.

Infamous moment ... referee Graham Poll books Croatia's Josip Simunic three times during the 2006 World Cup.

The call was used by the Ustashas, the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that ruled the state during World War II when tens of thousands Jews, Serbs and others perished in concentration camps.

Simunic played his junior football with Canberra FC and is understood to be returning at Christmas to visit his family.

He is tipped to return to Canberra permanently after next year's World Cup in Brazil when he retires from the game.

Vrkic said Simunic wouldn't have meant any harm by the chant and was simply emotional as it was his final game for the national team in Croatia before he retires.

''He was just thanking the fans for their support in helping the team qualify for the World Cup,'' Vrkic said.

''The chant means to fight for your home country.

''It is similar to Australians using, ''Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi''.

Simunic has defended his action, saying he was driven by love for his country. ''Some people have to learn some history,'' Simunic said.

''I'm not afraid. I did nothing wrong. I'm supporting my Croatia, my homeland.

''If someone has something against it, that's their problem.''

The veteran centre-back is one of the most decorated players in Croatian history.

He has made more than 100 appearances for the Croatian national team and featured at both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, along with playing in three straight European championships from 2004 to 2012.

Simunic attended the AIS from 1995-1996 before making his debut in the National Soccer League with Melbourne Knights.

He joined German club Hamburger SV in 1998, but enjoyed his longest stint with Hertha BSC, making more than 200 appearances from 2000 to 2009.

Simunic has spent the past three seasons with Dinamo Zagreb.

He was famously sent off in the group match with the Socceroos in the 2006 World Cup when he picked up his third yellow card.

The referee mistakenly gave an earlier indiscretion against Simunic to Socceroos defender Craig Moore because of Simunic's Australian accent. with AP