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FIFA considers action against Croatian player, fans after apparent pro-Nazi chants

This is not the first time FIFA has investigated Croatia's fans for pro-Nazi gestures. (Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty Images) This is not the first time FIFA has investigated Croatia's fans for pro-Nazi gestures. (Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty Images)

FIFA said Wednesday that it's considering disciplinary measures against Croatia defender Joe Simunic and fans of the team after they were seen celebrating with apparent pro-Nazi chants following Tuesday's World Cup qualification.

According to a report Wednesday from the Associated Press, Simunic took a microphone to the field following Croatia's 2-0 win over Iceland on Tuesday and shouted to the fans, "For the homeland!" to which those in the stands responded, "Ready."

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Without context, the exchange may seem innocuous. But as the report points out, "that was the war call used by 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."

The 35-year-old Australian-born Simunic defended his actions, saying it's not his problem if others take issue with his words:

"Some people have to learn some history. 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."

Allegations of pro-Nazi gestures aren't new to the team and its fans. Two weeks ago, Croatia's team was fined $38,000 by FIFA for "incidents," according to the report, including a number of fans making supposed Hitler-esque "salute gestures" during a 2-1 loss to Belgium in October in Croatia's capital of Zagreb.

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FIFA said it's still in the information-gathering stage of the investigation:

"We are in the process of analyzing the different match officials' reports and gathering information."

A suspension to Simunic would potentially mean sitting out matches in Brazil at the World Cup.

Footage of the post-game exchange between Simunic and fans can be seen below:

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