Croatia name Cacic as Kovac replacement

Lokomotiv Zagreb coach Ante Cacic has been named the new head coach of Croatia after signing a contract until the 2018 World Cup.

Croatia have turned to Lokomotiv Zagreb head coach Ante Cacic as the man to replace Niko Kovac after the latter was sacked earlier this month.

A 2-0 defeat to Norway on September 6 saw the end of Kovac's reign with the national team despite his side still firmly in contention for an automatic qualifying spot for Euro 2016.

Cacic was quickly installed as favourite to replace the former international defender, and the 61-year-old has agreed a deal until the 2018 World Cup.

"Ante Cacic deserves this post," said Croatian Football Federation president Davor Suker.

"He is an experienced coach in the Croatian First Division, he has worked with Dinamo [Zagreb] in the Champions League and Maribor in the Europa League, and he knows a lot of national team players from before, which was also important because there is not a lot of time. 

"We rely on Croatian brains, and the Croatian Football Federation has always made a good decision. I hope that will stay the same."

The first task facing Cacic - who will be assisted by Josip Simunic and Ante Mise - will be to try and turn Croatia's form around in Group H and pick up maximum points against Bulgaria and Malta to give them hope of reaching next year's Euros.

Suker added: "I appeal for unity. Croatia is third in its qualifying group and it will not be easy to reach Euro 2016, but our players deserve full support."