Niko Kovac: Croatia sack coach after defeat in Norway

Niko Kovac
Niko Kovac won 83 caps for Croatia as a central midfielder between 1996 and 2008

Croatia have sacked coach Niko Kovac after a 2-0 defeat by Norway left their chances of qualifying automatically for Euro 2016 in the balance.

Croatia are third in Group H with two matches remaining, but are just a point behind second-placed Norway.

The top two qualify automatically while the team in third are guaranteed at least a place in the play-offs.

Kovac, 43, had a public falling-out with Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after the loss to Norway.

Modric, who was unhappy to be substituted during Thursday's 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan, angrily dismissed Kovac's claim the players were not "dedicating themselves sufficiently".

Group H table

Kovac, who was appointed in 2013, took Croatia to last year's World Cup in Brazil, where they failed to progress from a group containing the hosts.

With games against Bulgaria and Malta to come, they have secured at least a place in the play-offs to qualify for Euro 2016 in France.

Davor Suker, the head of the Croatian Football Federation, said Kovac's successor will be chosen at a meeting on 21 September.