Croatia defender Domagoj Vida apologized after his team’s 2-1 extra time win over England in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday for comments in support of Russia’s neighbor Ukraine.
A half an hour into Wednesday’s match, spectators in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium began jeering Vida every time he touched the ball. Vida drew the wrath of many Russians for videos posted online in which he said “glory to Ukraine.” The video appeared to be recorded after Croatia’s penalty shootout victory over Russia.
“I know I made a mistake and I would like to apologize again to Russian people,” Vida said in an interview with Rossiya 24 state television, adding that he was bothered by the jeers.
“I’m sorry. That’s life. You have to learn from your mistakes,” he said.
‘Not intended to offend anyone’
In an earlier statement released by the Croatia’s football federation (HNS), Vida, 29, who played for Dynamo Kyiv from 2013-18, said he did not intend for the message to be a political statement.
“Our intention was not to offend anyone… I sincerely hope that this message will not be understood as anything else but an expression of gratitude to our friends in Ukraine for their support,” he said.