ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia coach Igor Stimac was fired Wednesday following his team's 2-0 loss to Scotland in a World Cup qualifier.
Croatian Football Federation president Davor Suker said Niko Kovac, a former Croatia midfielder and coach of the junior national team, will be Stimac's temporary replacement. Despite the loss against Scotland on Tuesday, Croatia managed to finish second in its qualifying group behind Belgium and can reach the World Cup in Brazil through the playoffs in November.
The 46-year-old Stimac said after the match he would step down because of "a moral responsibility" for Croatia's two consecutive defeats, 2-1 against Belgium at home last week and against Scotland. "Stimac had total support of the federation, but after these poor results ... my proposal was to remove Stimac from his duties," Suker said.
Stimac took over from Slaven Bilic. He and Bilic were Croatia defenders and Suker was a striker in the team that reached the 1998 World Cup semifinals.