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Croatia confirm Čačić as Kovač's successor

Former Dinamo Zagreb trainer Ante Čačić has been named successor to Niko Kovač as coach of Croatia, taking over with two European Qualifiers remaining.

Ante Čačić counts Maribor and Lokomotiva Zagreb among his recent employers
Ante Čačić counts Maribor and Lokomotiva Zagreb among his recent employers ©Getty Images

Ante Čačić has been named as Niko Kovač's successor as Croatia coach.

Kovač was dismissed on Wednesday 9 September after his team picked up just one point from their qualifiers against Azerbaijan (0-0) and Norway (2-0). Čačić, 61, has been in charge of some of Croatia's most high-profile clubs, including Dinamo Zagreb and Lokomotiva Zagreb. He has also been at the helm of Maribor in Slovenia as well as being assistant coach of Libya.

"I am experienced in football and have gradually been building up my coaching career – taking over the national team would be the crowning moment," said Čačić before the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) confirmed its decision on Monday.

HNS president Davor Šuker said: "We've talked a lot to try and come up with the best solution. I am satisfied that Ante Čačić deserves to be national team coach. He has worked with eight or nine players in this team before, which was a key factor."

On Friday, UEFA's Appeals Body upheld the decision to dock Croatia one point for the racist behaviour at their qualifier against Italy in June. Croatia are third in Group H, two points off Norway and four behind the Azzurri.