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Josip Šimunic

Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 15.35CET
GNK Dinamo Zagreb

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Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 15.35CET

Josip Šimunic

GNK Dinamo Zagreb

The most experienced international in Slaven Bilić's squad, Josip Šimunić wore the No3 shirt at four successive major tournaments for Croatia from 2002-08. Tall, strong and secure in possession, he is a reliable central defender who joined GNK Dinamo Zagreb in summer 2011 after 14 seasons in the German Bundesliga.

• Born to Croatian parents in the Australian capital of Canberra, he began his career locally with Melbourne Knights FC before moving to Germany at the age of 19.

• Played in only a handful of Bundesliga matches for Hamburger SV before switching in 2000 to Hertha BSC Berlin, where he remained for the next nine years, accumulating 222 top-flight appearances and featuring in seven UEFA Cup campaigns.

• First capped in November 2001, in a friendly against South Korea in Seoul, he returned to the Far East the following summer, replacing the injured Igor Tudor in Croatia's 2002 FIFA World Cup squad and playing all three games in Japan.

• Ever-present also at UEFA EURO 2004 and the 2006 World Cup finals, although he was sent off in the final group game of the latter against his native Australia in bizarre circumstances after mistakenly receiving three yellow cards.

• Made another three appearances at UEFA EURO 2008, helping Croatia end their run of first-round exits and reach the quarter-finals; retained by coach Slaven Bilić for 2010 World Cup qualifying, during which he left Hertha for Bundesliga rivals TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, and thereafter the road to UEFA EURO 2012.

• After a disappointing second season with Hoffenheim he signed for Dinamo in August 2011 and won the league and cup double; at 33, he had never previously played for a Croatian club.

Last updated: 08/12/13 7.39CET

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