Croatia sack staff member Ognjen Vukojevic over 'glory to Ukraine' message

Russian company mines football-shaped diamond says it’s good omen ahead of Croatia game

Both Vukojevic and the 29-year-old Vida previously played for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev.

Vida, 29, who scored in extra-time against Russian Federation and also in the penalty shootout, had earlier attempted to clarify the clip.

Federation Internationale de Football Association confirmed on Sunday that Vida has been given a warning , meaning the defender will be available for selection when Croatia face England in Wednesday's second World Cup semi-final.

The Croatian football federation has removed Ognjen Vukojevic from the team's World Cup coaching staff after he was filmed dedicating the quarter-final win against Russia to Ukraine.

The game went on to penalties and Croatia scraped through to the semi-finals when they won 4-3.

"I don't want to be a burden to our team ahead of the extremely important semifinal match of the World Cup, at the moment when the most needed thing for the national team is peace", Vukojevic told Croatian state broadcaster HRT, saying he intended the video as a personal greeting to Ukrainian friends, not as a political statement.

Besides firing Vida, it also issued an apology for the video.

"My statements were truly not meant to have any political connotations, and my only intention was to thank my friends in Ukraine for their support, and to thank my club, Dynamo Kiev, for permitting me to participate at the World Cup".

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Ognjen Vukojevic and defender Domagoj Vida published the video on social media after the match on Saturday in a move criticised by Russian politicians and led to a warning from FIFA's disciplinary committee.

Vukojevic, who now works as a scout at Dynamo but is with his national team for their World Cup campaign, added: "This victory is for Dinamo and Ukraine". Football is outside politics.

The Croatian FA had issued a press statement on Sunday attempting to clarify the incident and calling on players to avoid sending messages that could be deemed to be politically provocative.

Vukojevic, 34, made 55 appearances for Croatia between 2007 and 2014.

"I regret that some media representatives have interpreted our communication in such a manner", Vida said in a statement released by the Croatian Football Federation.

Croatia play England in the semifinals in Moscow on Wednesday. Earlier, FIFA fined but did not suspend two Swiss players for celebrating goals by making a gesture in the sign of a double-headed eagle - a symbol of Albania.

Serbia was charged for fans' "display of discriminatory banners and messages by Serbian supporters as well as for throwing objects during the match", Federation Internationale de Football Association said.

Artur Petrosyan is a Russian journalist based in Moscow.

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