Why Domagoj Vida shouted 'Glory to Ukraine' after Croatia's win over Russian Federation

Grant SmithJul 09, 2018

Every Love Island contestant if they were an England player - World Cup!

Croatia proceeded to the semi-finals, where they will meet England, but were at risk of losing a key defender in Vida after a video of him saying that the victory was for Ukraine.

In the clip Vida, who is joined by Croatian scout Ognjen Vukojevic, can be heard shouting: "Glory to Ukraine" - the chant of the country's army opposed to Russian territorial claims on the nation - and: "This victory is for Dynamo [Kiev] and for Ukraine". I've got friends there [in Ukraine] since Dynamo Kyiv, I didn't mean anything else.

The race for the Golden Boot heats up ahead of the Fifa World Cup semifinals.

In a video posted on social media.

A second person in the same video, Ognjen Vukojevic, a recently-retired Croatian global who played in Kiev, and now works as a scout for the national team, underlines the message by adding "This victory is for Dynamo Kiev and for Ukraine".

Vida issued a statement distributed by Croatia's football federation after the FIFA ruling calling the entire incident a misunderstanding.

But a spokesman said: "FIFA is processing the different reports of the said match as well as potential evidence concerning the matter referred to. Until we have evaluated all information available, we can not comment further". "It was just a joke".

Ukraine's government accuses Russia of arming pro-Russian separatists who control part of the east of the country, and of backing up the separatist groups with Russian military forces.

"Such actions should be punished", parliament's sports committee member Dmitry Svishchyov told the RIA Novosti state news agency.

Federation Internationale de Football Association rules are very strict against footballers issuing political messages, but it remains to be seen what punishment - if any - Vida will be handed for his poor choice of words.

The slogan has its roots in Ukraine's nationalist and anti-Russian movement in the 20th century, and became the rallying cry for the Maidan revolution in 2014.

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