Croatian World Cup stars accused of fascist chants
Croatian World Cup stars Dejan Lovren and Marcelo Brozovic have been accused of singing a fascist anthem while celebrating their third-place finish at the tournament in Qatar.
According to Italian publication Corriere della Sera, a video clip shows the pair performing the song ‘Za Dom Spremni’, which translates as ‘Ready for the Homeland’ and was popularized during the ultranationalist Ustase movement during World War II.
Footage of the incident also appears to show Inter Milan midfielder Brozovic making a ‘gun’ gesture while the duo dance in front of a Croatian flag.
It was allegedly shot at a Zagreb nightclub owned by Brozovic.
Smajo Beso, a lecturer at a UK university, noted on social media that the song is considered to be pro-Nazi.
However, Lovren, who plays his club football in Russia with Zenit St. Petersburg, responded to the allegations by saying that his critics merely “hate everything that is Croatian.”
This is former @LFC defender Dejan Lovren & @intermilan player Marcelo Brozovic singing ‘Za Dom Spremni’ (For homeland - ready). It’s a salute used during World War II by the Croatian fascist Ustaše movement. It was the Ustaše equivalent of the Nazi salute "Sieg heil". https://t.co/tkoz4RjWmJpic.twitter.com/xzGvh0wQjq— Smajo Bešo (@SmajoBeso) December 19, 2022
“A handful of wretched, miserable and jealous people, they hate everything that is Croatian,” said Lovren, as quoted by 24sata.
“Actually, they hate themselves first. I don't understand how they work in Croatia?”
The song was initially popularized by Marko Perkovic, who is better known by his moniker ‘Thompson’ – a nickname which references the Thompson machine gun.
Perkovic is known in Croatia and in Eastern Europe for his far-right positions on various topics.
The Croatian World Cup squad had previously been filmed singing songs written by Perkovic at a team dinner during the FIFA World Cup.
It was ruled by a Croatian court in 2020 that Perkovic was permitted to sing the controversial song at concerts and that it did not constitute a violation of public order.