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Josip Šimunić
Personal information
Date of birth 18 February 1978 (1978-02-18) (age 32)
Place of birth Canberra, Australia
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Number 14
Youth career
1995–1996 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1997 Melbourne Knights 30 (3)
1997–2000 Hamburger SV 8 (0)
2000–2009 Hertha BSC 218 (3)
2009– TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 23 (0)
National team
2001– Croatia 75 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 March 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17 October 2009

Josip Šimunić (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈjɔsip ˈʃimunitɕ]; born 18 February 1978 in Canberra, Australia) is a Croatian Australian football central defender. He plays for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and the Croatian national team.

Contents

Club career

Šimunić was born in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. His parents are of Croatian heritage. He received early football training at the Australian Institute of Sport. The defender broke into the Melbourne Knights first team as a teenager in the 1995–96 season and ended it with a championship medal and 1996 NSL Youth Player of the Year award. Šimunić scored his first goals the following term, three in 14 outings, before moving to Europe to join Hamburger SV in 1998.[1]

Šimunić moved to Hertha BSC in 2000 after falling out with Hamburg coach Frank Pagelsdorf and has since become an integral member of a team which has enjoyed occasional forays in the UEFA Cup. He expressed on The World Game on SBS television that he wishes to return to Australia to live after concluding his career in Europe. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Šimunić was named the best central defender in the Bundesliga by Kicker magazine.[2] Hertha finished in 4th place that season, with a defence that conceded only 41 goals, tied for 3rd in the league with VfL Wolfsburg.

After nine years with Hertha BSC he left the club on 30 June 2009 to sign with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on a contract which runs out on 30 June 2012.[3]

International career

Šimunić was educated at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), but he decided not to play for Australia, instead play his international football for the country of his parents' birth, heritage and dual citizenship of Croatia in October 2001, making his international debut in Croatia's friendly match against Korea Republic on 10 November 2001. Šimunić did not play in any of Croatia's qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup but was given a place in the squad for the finals after injury forced Igor Tudor out. He played all three of Croatia's matches in Korea and Japan. He also played in the Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008, performing well in the latter tournament.

In a well-publicised incident, Šimunić was sent off in Croatia's final 2006 FIFA World Cup match against Australia. Having picked up a booking in the 61st minute, the referee Graham Poll took out a yellow card for Šimunić's tackle in the 90th minute, but did not actually send him off. However, at the conclusion of the game three minutes later, Šimunić remonstrated with Poll and received a third yellow card, this time followed by a red card. FIFA initially noted all three bookings in its match report, before later removing the 90th minute (second) booking. This prompted the removal of Poll from the knockout stages referee pool. Shortly after the World Cup, Poll retired from refereeing international games, citing this game as a direct cause. It should also be noted that Šimunić himself has faced some criticism for failing to remove himself from the pitch of play after the second card.[4]

Upon the release of his autobiography in 2007, Poll revealed that, upon booking Šimunić for the second time, he had erroneously recorded him as “Australia #3” (who was defender Craig Moore), due to Šimunić's Australian accent.

He is known for having great football technique, despite being a centre-back. His national teammate Niko Kranjčar says that “on a training pitch he does feints like Ronaldinho”.[5]

References

External links

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