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Croatia sack Kovac over poor results

09 September 2015, 18:15

Zagreb - Croatia's Football Federation (HNS) on Wednesday sacked Niko Kovac after his squad's poor results in Euro 2016 qualifiers, notably the 2-0 defeat to Norway.

The decision was reached after Croatia took only one point from their last two qualifiers earlier this month, HNS head Davor Suker said after a meeting of the body's executive committee, state-run HINA news agency reported.

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A decision on Kovac's successor is to be taken by September 21.

After the loss to Norway on Sunday, Kovac intially said his players were to blame accusing them of "not dedicating themselves sufficiently."

The criticism was strongly rejected by the players, namely Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and captain Darijo Srna.

Kovac later tried to calm down the tensions and said he was responsible for the result. The defeat against Norway followed a goalless draw in Baku three days earlier.

The results of the last two games have undermined Croatia's chances of qualification for Euro 2016. They are currently third with 14 points in Group H, topped by Italy. The Italians have 18 points with second-placed Norway on 16. Only the top two automatically qualify for the finals in France

Croatia were deducted one point after a swastika was daubed on the pitch when they played Italy in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Split in June, a decision they have appealed.

Germany-born Kovac, 43, succeeded Igor Stimac as Croatia coach in October 2013.

He retired as a player in 2009, having won 83 caps and scoring 15 goals between 1996 and 2008. The Croatian captained his national side from 2004 onwards, participating in the European Championship in Portugal in 2004 and in Austria and Switzerland in 2008, as well as the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Having taken up coaching roles at Red Bull Salzburg following his retirement as a player, Kovac was also Croatia's under-21 coach.

He led Croatia in 19 matches, including the World Cup in Brazil, where they failed to qualify for the last 16.



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