Croatia defender Joe Simunic (3) was banned 10 games for celebrating his country's World Cup berth with fans by using pro-Nazi chants.
Darko Bandic/AP

ZURICH (AP) -- Croatia defender Josip Simunic will miss the World Cup after being banned for 10 official matches for leading a pro-Nazi chant with fans after his team qualified for next year's finals in Brazil.

Simunic took a microphone following Croatia's playoff match against Iceland and shouted to supporters: "For the homeland!" The fans responded: "Ready!" The call was used by the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet regime that ruled the state during World War II.

FIFA said Monday that the salute was "discriminatory and offended the dignity of a group of persons concerning ... race, religion or origin."

Simunic has also been banned for entering the stadiums where Croatia will play those 10 games. He previously defended his action, saying he was driven by love for his country.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.