Supporter of Croatia national soccer team members wait to welcome the team on their arrival in Zagreb, Croatia, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

In an outburst of national pride, Croatia on Monday threw out a red carpet and staged a heroes’ welcome for the country’s national team despite its loss to France in the World Cup final.

Tens of thousands of people wearing national red-and-white colours and waving Croatian flags poured into the streets in of the capital Zagreb to greet the players, many coming to the city from other parts of the country.

The joyful, singing crowd crammed the city’s central square or lined up along the route where the players passed in an open bus, greeting the fans along the way and signing autographs from the bus.

Croatian air force jets escorted the plane carrying the team from Russia as it entered the country’s air space and flew over the capital Zagreb.

“Champions! Champions!” roared the crowds as the players came out of the plane to a red carpet placed on the tarmac at the Zagreb airport.

The small country of 4 million people has been gripped in euphoria since its team beat England to reach its first World Cup final, where Croatia lost 4-2 to France.

The success has been the described as the biggest in Croatia’s sporting history, boosting national pride and sense of unity in the country that fought a war to become independent from the former Yugoslavia in 1990s’.

Croatia’s state railway company has halved ticket prices so fans could travel to Zagreb, while city authorities in the capital said public transportation would be free on Monday.

State TV urged citizens to come out and enjoy “the historic moment” of the players’ return, while other media have described the players as “our heroes.”

Related: France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Related: Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Jovana Gec, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two women recognized for multiculturalism, anti-racism work in Surrey

Awards ceremony held on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Homeless deaths in Surrey quadruple between 2007 and 2016

Deaths in the city spiked in 2015 from the previous year

Surrey’s truck survey closes Sunday

‘Sustainable solutions for authorized commercial truck parking’ sought

Sunny’s Bridal in Surrey to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week

Business got its start in south Vancouver in the 1990s

Surrey forensic nurse says vote Early, vote often

If Sheila Early wins YWCA award, Scotiabank will donate $10K to violence prevention services program for women

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Vancouver Giant named to Western Conference first-tier all-star team

Young hockey defenceman Bowen Byram is once again lauded for his outstanding efforts on the ice

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

North Delta happenings: week of March 21

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Most Read