Media Mean Spirits Against Croats Rose Again At Australian Soccer Cup 2022 Match

Revellers and fans of Sydney United 58 soccer club on 1 October 2022 Australia Cup match. Photo: Getty Images/Cameron Spencer

Sydney United 58 (originally Sydney Croatia soccer club) fans and revellers were publicly condemned in Australia’s, and wider, mainstream media for alleged “devastating and shameful” scenes during the Australia Cup final on October 1, 2022, and with them the entire Croatian community of Australia and the Croatian people. Television coverage captured Sydney United 58 revellers chanting “Ready for home” (Za dom spremni!) in unison, raising their arms in the air or waving an open hand or clenched fist in hearty jubilation. Australian mainstream media immediately labelled it Nazi salutes during the match. Immediately, some journalists rushed to declare that it was a Nazi salute like “Sieg Heil”, and with the news of this incident from the match, topics such as Ustashe, Jasenovac, from the Second World War immediately appeared in the mainstream media. News quickly emerged alleging that several Sydney United 58 fans were also booing during the Welcome to Country ceremony conducted at all public events in Australia by a representative of Australian First Nations and during the playing of the Australian national anthem (but footage from the crowd later showed that the latter was not true because the Sydney United 58 fans sang and clapped for the Australian national anthem). The leadership of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies immediately after the game called publicly for “strong action”, including lifetime bans. While Football Australia (football association of Australia) said that the actions of a “very small minority” were not in line with the “values ​​and expectations of the wider community”, and former Australian TV sports presenter and well-known public figure Lucy Zelic, of Croatian origin, promptly expressed her outrage on her Twitter at what happened, was deeply disappointed by the actions of the fans and called for a lifetime ban and a mandatory education course for those involved.

“I was born in the 80s and was never raised to be a fascist, racist or antisemitic – it wasn’t an option. We knew what being treated differently because of your ethnicity, and losing loved ones in senseless war felt like,” wrote Lucy Zelic 2 October 2022 on her Twitter and continued: “What happened at last night’s @AustraliaCup Final was shocking and simply devastating, and I didn’t want to believe it. It was the first time I felt embarrassed by the actions of my fellow countrymen, and I wasn’t alone… Their beliefs and behaviour aren’t a true representation of Croatians, just as the actions of fans aren’t ever representative of a football club. What’s worse, is that many of them appeared to be teenagers who simply don’t know how deeply the ramifications of their actions run…”

So, this soccer match and accompanying media writeups turned into fodder for merciless attacks on Croatian unity and on the pride and purity of Croatian freedom. The media coverage was almost entirely negative, one-sided or with a great lack of context and had the cumulative effect of branding the Croatian community as fascist, racist, discriminatory, or sympathetic to such views. This of course is no news for most Croatians, they suffer attacks regularly that are not based on World War Two facts but on fabrications and mean spirits.   Did this media attack have anything to do with the fact that the Supreme Court of NSW recently ordered a judicial review of the convictions passed in 1981 against the so-called Croatian six for attempted terrorism, which case is considered the greatest injustice in the history of Australian judiciary and justice because it is becoming clear that it was set up by the communist UDBA of Yugoslavia (in collaboration with individuals from Australian authorities at the time), is a feeling that many people in Australia these days carry uneasily.

It was particularly disappointing to watch prominent media figures of Croatian origin, such as Lucy Zelic, who did not use this situation to, in addition to her own outrage at the behaviour of some fans, also use her media platforms and influence to inform the Australian and world public about the history of the For Home Ready “Za dom spremni” greeting, which has its roots long before the Second World War and which had a key motivational chant and basis for the victory in the 1990s over the brutal Serb aggression against Croatia. True, Lucy pointed out in her statements that the “beliefs and behaviour” of those who chanted at the match “are not a true representation of Croats,” but she did not point out what the true virtues of Croats are.

On its Facebook page, the Croatian Embassy in Canberra was quick to condemn the events at the match regarding the Sydney United 58 fans. It was “a small group of individuals whose shocking and reprehensible behaviour does not, and should not, be an embarrassment to the entire hard-working and law-abiding Australians – of the Croatian community,” says a Facebook post on October 3 on the embassy’s Facebook page. But at the same time, and as many people from the Croatian community reported to me, the statement on that Facebook page – “We strongly reject all forms of anti-Semitism and firmly believe that there is no place in society for any glorification of totalitarian regimes, extremism or intolerance” – also had the effect that confirmed the allegations of the Australian media and some influential persons and associations of Australia that the greeting “Za dom spremni” is fascist and Nazi, and that there may be a significant and worrying number of sympathizers of those regimes in the Croatian community! The fact that the official website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia on behalf of the Croatian Embassy in Canberra did not publish any statement regarding this incident is also a source of sadness for most, because the website is the first window to the wider world, not Facebook.

It seems not much has changed on this front since November 2013 when Australian defender of Croatian origins, Joe Simunic, greeted the crowds with “For Home!” (and the revellers replied “Ready!” at the World Cup qualifying match against Iceland. As a result, FIFA banned him from remaining Cup matches.

Sydney United fans at Australia Cup soccer Match 1 Ocober 2022. Photo: AAP/ Dan Himbrech

Croatian youth born in Australia, brought up with a sense of patriotism and pride for Croatia and everything that is patriotic and are certainly neither Nazis nor fascists nor neo-Nazis, but pure Croats who love their parental homeland. In this case, the Croatian community in Australia was thrown under the bus from all sides and even by some of its own people, and now that community must fight for its reputation again, as it did in the 1980s after false accusations of terrorism by the Croatian Six.

Historioghraphically, it is completely undoubtable that the phrase «For home» belongs to the Croatian traditional heritage and, as such, it has been very prevalent in various types of Croatian social life for several centuries. Historical sources evidence that the phrase «For home» was used in ethnological, literary, music, political, military, cultural and other forms of Croatian social life during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It has been applied to very differing occasions and situations, official and everyday ones. Because of all of that the phrase «For home» has become naturalised among the various generations of the widest of classes of Croatian population. With that, the phrase «For home» has acquired very wide communication meanings. Cumulatively, it had represented the widest expression of value of social solidarity. i.e., devotion to home and homeland, but it was also used as a spontaneous and amiable everyday greeting.

The Ustashe movement, whose leadership collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II, especially after Nazi Germany occupied Croatia, just as Serbia did, and established the Independent State of Croatia – NDH (1941 – 1945), used a series of contents from the Croatian traditional heritage in their original or adapted forms. Among other things they adapted the traditional phrase “For home” into their salutation “For Leader and Home Ready!” (Za Poglavnika i Dom spremni). With the ending of World War II, NDH ceased to exist, and the newly established Yugoslav communist totalitarian regime, largely comprised of Serbs at the helms, mounted a cruel and thorough revenge with its representatives and its ideology because NDH fought for Croatian independence from any form of Yugoslavia and communist Partisans fought for Croatia to remain within Yugoslavia.

And hence, all the great and grand and virtuous Croatian history of the “For Home Ready” greeting and salute was suffocated, and it was maliciously turned into a Nazi and/or Fascist salute, which it was not. It is obviously in someone’s interest to keep saying that and those insisting upon it are more likely than not the ones who are still pursuing the big lies their predecessors or even they themselves wrote into the WWII history of Croatia and former Yugoslavia.  And so, we who cherish the truth above all shall keep fighting for it. Ina Vukic


  1. Your reporting is nice . For your own country . For the Croatian people . And young Croatian Soccer Club of Australia enchanting something wrong in emotion that should not be highlighted as if Hitler has again come from the grave . These players are young and they might not be knowing the history of the world war second even . But in emotion they might have enchanted some worldwide prohibited slogan . That should not taken seriously as such . Thanks for sharing .

    • For Home Ready is not prohibited although many have tried to make it so. In some parts it may be banned but only where communists and former still reign. Human history has still many things that need to be addressed and corrected. If some journalists etc have chosen to say this was a Hitler salute or Nazi salute that is their shame and mean spirited for it is not. They do that for political reasons even if they say journalists are unbiased.

  2. All respect to Australian indigenous people but the Welcome to Country seems like a ceremony designed to make the Australians of British origins feel better for the crimes and terror the British empire perpetrated against those peoples even as recent as 1970’s. The journalists would do much better by pursuing genuine apologies and reparations to these people than go on a witch hunt against young of Croatian origins. There is nothing wrong with greeting “For Home” many countries including Western had it during World War Two

  3. Well done at setting the record straight Ina. And kudos to Mark V. for his very perceptive comment. All this is worth repeating because certain factions, it seems, will never stop trying to guilt and shame Croatians, especially the younger generation into becoming pitiful apatrids like the members of those factions. Repetition being the mother of propaganda, it twists lies into truth and vice-versa. Thanks to the persistence of people like yourself those scheisters are not getting the upper hand that they’re hoping for.

    • Keeping the truth on the straight and on the surface has never been easy and when it comes to having to live among communists and other political pests then we need a strong shield indeed. And strength. Thank you for your comment Brankec and cheers! We will survive!

  4. Those with eyes to see Ina see the lies and the deception and the exaggerations.. It’s a case of look over here, so they don’t want you to see what is going on over there..
    Its a pity isn’t it that our msm outlets around the world are not aghast as they report on the funding war via our various governments on massive scales, instead of seeking peaceful solutions.. To places we know that the Nazi regime never left..

    A little like at the same time our PM resigned yesterday a Parliamentary enquiry was taking place on vaccine damage in Westminster… The news will not be reporting on that… Only the chaotic mess the present UK government is in..

    This world is upside down and its about to get exposed more and more for its Miss reporting and lies..

    Watch this space!…

    Sending love and well wishes Ina…. Keep on Keeping On my friend….
    Much love <3 Sue x

    • And in Croatia the curse is that rivers of blood and thousands of lives lost for democracy and secession from communism only to end up with communist mindset regime taking over the governments for last three decades who continue feeding the lies fabricated in Yugoslav times. Nazism or Communism and curses I hope our grandchildren will never have to meet. Hugs Sue

      • I hope so too Ina… It seems to me as look around the world that communism is rife in many a political circle.. It’s just cleverly hidden.
        I so pray for our grandchildren Ina that the world turns to oust the demons of corruption that hides behind its two faced masks and pretends its democratic..
        The task is enormous, but one that has been started, even though as yet we have only just scratched the surface of discovering the friends and foe of those put themselves in charge along with puppet masters behind them.

        We keep on keeping on Ina… The light of truth is what we aim for..
        Sending love your way my friend.. Hugs returned <3 <3

  5. Media, worldwide MEDIA are the devil’s main tool.
    MEDIA are anti-Christian, especially anti-Catholic.
    EVIL MEDIA are pro-Communist and anti-Freedom.
    Za dom spremni.

  6. The same stigma is now on Ye. While I have derived respect and interest in Piers Morgan, I can’t help but laugh at the irony of the show’s name “Uncensored”. Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is a global superstar boasting multi-platinum records as a recording artist and producer and also a multi-billionaire who owns the fashion label Yeezy. Ye however was recently removed from social media platforms after he sent a tweet that was deemed anti-Semitic. Piers Morgan Uncensored invited Ye for a two-hour interview to discuss his inflammatory statement and ask if he’s sorry for the offense he caused. It’s worth a look and find out what it’s all about. Greetings to all Croats.

  7. Hi Ina
    I’m sorry I don’t read your blog as much as you read mine but thenI am of Italian descent. We’ve had our own problems with fascism. This post did catch my eye however. No nation should be judged by rowdy fans at a football game. Everyone knows the Brits are by far the worst. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the slogan, while having a pre-war history, was incorporated and used by the fascists. When combined with the right arm salute, fist closed or open, it was enough to bring condemnation from your own embassy.

    Ukraine, Lithuania and unfortunately Croats not only welcomed and c0llaborated the Nazis, they enthusiastically rounded up Jews and Serbs and ran a concentration camp which many believe was the worst in Europe. They joined the military and the police and supported the Nazis. I believe that is why the Croatian embassy immediately disavowed the footballers.

    I know little about the Balkans other than they don’t get along. Why? Different religions due to Ottoman, Russian and Austro-Hungarian domination is not enough to explain ancient enmities.

    This 80 year old man has 2 questions:

    -Can a foreigner tell a Croat from a Serb simply by his last name? Or is that not sufficient?

    -Do Croat and Serb speak the same language or close enough to understand each other?

    Then write a post on the origins of your grievances for a foreigner. I promise to read it.
    Regards from Florida


    • Thank you for your comment Toritto. I find it interesting that you choose to name some countries in WWII that collaborated with Nazi in WWII after occupation but you omit the ones who proudly declared themselves Jew Free (not Croatia) after exterminating 95 plus % of its Jewish population. In Croatia as in all occupied countries there were concentration camps but for some history is falsified and numbers of victims blown out of all proportions, such as for Croatia and you omit that Croats were persecuted also. The rounding up of Jews was the worst in Serbia but of course this has been downplayed successfully and the lobby behind that is quite clear. To me even one victim is one too ,any. The questions you put have answers re surname: not always different, to language Yes to spoken but not written as Serbian has Cyrillic and Croatian Latin. As to my grievances they are always supported by facts to which I usually direct the readers or write them so they may be independently verified

      • Ina, your own embassy.government condemned the foot ballers antics. Do you believe your government should have defended them? Or ignored the protests?

      • Toritto, If there were Nazi salutes then of course I do not believe any government or Embassy should defend them but there were no such salutes visible on TV news coverage from media. For Home Ready is not a Nazi salute and if some wish to call it that it is a political reaction not one based on fact.

  8. Dear Ina,

    Thank you for standing up against this most unfortunate media attack, but until we take Serbia, Serbian Orthodox Church, who spent millions on promoting their lies and myths all over the world against Croatia, and Mr. Gideon, Zuroff etc. for aiding and abetting Serbian lies for handsome profit, to court, we will always have a problem with this negative propaganda.

    We have so much material that discredits their lies, but instead of taking proper action, we are suffering and living under the cloud of injustice and tainted history. We should stop using our energy and money in educating our own, who very well know the truth, but instead we should use all our resources to educate the world, who does not know the truth.

    We all know that the salute ‘Za Dom Spremni’ (For Home Ready) dates back well before WWII (Opera Zrinski, Battle with Ottomans, etc) and that the said salute is a problem only in our aggressor’s mind. The salute that was used during WWII was ‘ZA POGLAVNIKA I DOM SPREMNI’ (‘FOR THE CHIEF AND HOME READY’) as shown in the attachment.
    It was a salute that was not used all the time. There are numerous official documents that did not bear that salute; therefore, I really do not understand how and when this salute, ‘Za Dom Spremni’, became so notorious? For a long time I pondered and asked myself why and who has problem with someone that is ready to defend his/ her own home? Then it occurred to me: Only the people that have pretension on that neighboring home. That is why this is a problem. They want our country. They have used all their energy, money, political, economical, diplomatic connections to present Croatia in a very negative light, because they want our land.

    During the WWII, Serbia was collaborating with Hitler, (Ljoticevci, Nedic). Serbia, boasted that they are ‘Judean Rein’ (totally cleansed from Jews!), no problem with Hitler. Same as they are, at the present moment, supporting Putin and his grave attack on Ukraine. Only when they saw that Hitler will not win, they joined the partisans/ communists. They will tell you that it was a war and they were occupied. So were we. On one side by the Italians and on another side by the Germans, attacked from all sides by partisans, chetniks-serbians and other war hungry criminals. We had very little time to build our young NDH state at that time. We spent all the time defending our young state which was born in the war and lasted only during the war time. We never attacked any one country, but were attacked by all sides during our entire existance 1941-1945. So how come we are deemed aggressors and the countries that aggressed upon us were deemed victims?

    The hatred and lies Serbia is promoting against Croatia is two fold. One is to justify all the past aggressions against Croatia as well as, God forbid, to justify any new aggressions. When the time comes that they deem right to aggress upon Croatia, they wil aggress again.

    The second is to build up the hatred against Croatian people among their own people so that, when Serbia calls them to arms, they will be ready, willing and able, filled with hatred become walking human bombs thus without hesitation, gladly perform their beastly crimes. Sadly, their brutality we have already experienced during WWI, WWII and recently during the Serbian Aggression 1991-1995.

    They are part of the Russian World, which Russia is presently conducting against Ukraine. Russia does not call this devastating attack on Ukraine a war, they are calling it the ‘Necessary Undertaking in order to Denazify Ukraine’. The doctrine of the Russian World is exactly the same as the doctrine of the Serbian Svet (World) with only one reason, which is that both want other nations’ land. Russia wants Ukrainian land, Serbia wants Croatian land.

    Therefore, until we take correct action and bring this Serbian propaganda before the court, prove our facts, acknowledge the same to the world, seek retribution from Serbia and all the parties, the co-conspirators and accomplices, during and after the fact in this evil deed, the problem, as such, we will witness over and over again.

    Most troubling is, if we do not take this seriously enough we may, God forbid, experience the devastating fate of the Ukrainian people, which is unfolding before our eyes. God help us all.

    This is a very tense time. Putin is loosing and needs another troubled spot to avert the attention from his war. Serbia is most likely next to take arms and aggress upon its neighbours in an attempt to fulfill their dream of a Greater Serbia, which is now called the ‘Serbian World’. Both worlds, Serbian and Russian, are part of the same picture.

    Therefore, I urge our people to get together, take legal action, educate other nations and until we clear our name from all this evil propaganda, to abstain from any form of action, incitement, provocation, which will give Serbia a ‘reason’ to exploit the same. Remember Serbia wants Croatian land, they want our beautiful, prosperous, beloved homeland, which every Croatian loves deeply and is willing to defend at all cost.

  9. Great website Ina, thank you for your brilliant articles.
    Lucy Zelic’s manufactured outrage is not surprising – Many Croats in the sporting/entertainment world are ignorant of our history and change jackets when it suits them. A large number called themselves yugoslavs prior to 91 just so they could kick a ball or sing their songs, whilst those that called themselves Croatian were being persecuted and even murdered all around the world.

    The push back to the welcome to country farce (a ceremony that has no historical significance to aboriginals – invented by entertainer Ernie Dingo in the 1970s) is growing in the community in general I am finding. We don’t need to be welcomed to our own country of birth and shouldn’t have to feel guilt about alleged crimes of the British Empire a couple of hundred years ago at sporting events. What is this ceremony ($1000 a pop) doing for the horrifically abused children of remote communities in NT? Nothing but an inner city exercise in virtue signalling by professional activists. People have had enough of the woke crap infesting Australian society and especially the poisoning of young minds in our schools with so much cultural marxist rubbish – The stuff they are pushing even in catholic schools at the moment is sickening.

    • Zvonimir, I respect the Welcome to Country as it acknowledges the fact that Australian First Nations and that the land was taken from them by colonising forces. Those were the dates. Colonisers were not welcomed then and the indigenous peoples suffered great harm and genocidal aggression. There should be more genuine apologies and reparations to them but some people believe that the Welcome to Country only delays the genuine apologies and recognition of First Nations for their due from official avenues. There is talk of building them into the Australian Constitution which would be nice. True, people born in Australia should not be apologising especially if they did not participate in persecution of First Nations. We must remember that stolen generations and apartheid went on until late 1960’s and historical wrongs must be repaired as far as I am concerned. And many others.Thank you on your comment

  10. Well written Inavukic

  11. Peter Lozo, BSc, PhD (Adelaide) says:

    There is a photo of a man dressed in Croatian colours who performed a Nazi salute. He is one of three who were charged.

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