Saturday 20 January 2018

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Croatia defender Josip Simunic will miss the World Cup after being banned for 10 matches by FIFA for shouting a fascist salute following his team's play-off victory over Iceland last month.

World governing body FIFA on Monday confirmed Simunic's ban will start at the World Cup in Brazil, and also announced he will be banned from entering the stadium for any of the country's matches.

Simunic has also been ordered to pay a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (£20,700).

The ban was branded "draconian" by Croatia Football Federation (HNS) executive chairman Damir Vrbanovic, who said the HNS would support an appeal but was already planning for a World Cup without the 105-times capped Simunic.

BURTON have confirmed former Derby, Southampton and Stoke midfielder Rory Delap has retired from professional football.

The 37-year-old, renowned for his long throw-ins, moved to the Pirelli Stadium in July but a torn hamstring limited him to only seven appearances.

Burton manager Gary Rowett told www.burtonalbionfc.co.uk: "Rory has been a constant professional since he joined the club in the summer.

"His attitude and work ethic have been a credit to himself and the invaluable knowledge and experience that he has passed onto the rest of the players here at Burton Albion has been priceless."

Rowett added: "He has had a fantastic career and we are honoured here at Burton that he has finished his career with us."

Having swept all before

him as coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, Marcello Lippi faces one of the biggest challenges of his career on Tuesday when the champions of Asia take on Bayern Munich in the Club World Cup.

The Italian coach is determined to make life as difficult as possible for the European champions, whose players said on Monday they know little about the Chinese team, in their semi-final despite a huge gulf in class.

"Bayern are now the best team in the world and this makes it very exciting. We never thought we would have a chance of playing a game of this level," Lippi told reporters.

"It's a chance to measure ourselves, to really see how far we have come. We will try to find a way of making sure the better team doesn't win so easily."

Irish Independent

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