Croatia have sacked Niko Kovac after disappointing results in the most recent set of Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The final straw came with Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Norway which left Croatia in third place in Group H, two points behind group leaders Italy and a point behind Norway.

After the loss to Norway on Sunday, Kovac intially said his players were to blame accusing them of “not dedicating themselves sufficiently.”

The criticism was strongly rejected by the players, namely Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and captain Darijo Srna.

Kovac later tried to play down talk of a rift and said he was responsible for the result.

Croatia’s Football Federation head, Davor Suker, said after a meeting of the body’s executive committee that a decision on Kovac’s successor is to be taken by 21 September.

Germany-born Kovac, 43, succeeded Igor Stimac as Croatia coach in October 2013. He retired as a player in 2009, having won 83 caps and scoring 15 goals between 1996 and 2008.

Having taken up coaching roles at Red Bull Salzburg following his retirement as a player, Kovac was also Croatia’s U-21 coach. He led Croatia in 19 matches, which included 10 wins and 4 defeats.