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

Truck crashed and dumped near Predator Ridge

Police are looking for two men in connection with a stolen vehicle

Salt and Brick chef to compete in Canada’s Great Kitchen Party

Chef James Holmes will compete in the fall competition

UPDATE: Police swarm residence near UBC Okanagan, arrest 3 men

Five RCMP cars were seen outside 755 Academy Way Wednesday evening.

UBC Okanagan makes addition to womens volleyball, basketball

Lucy Faba and Amaya Perry will join the Heat next season

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Man seriously injured after driving wrong way down B.C. highway

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Candidates ready for Summerland Blossom Pageant

Royalty pageant will be held at Centre Stage Theatre on May 3 and 4

Shuswap society finds pets often suffer in domestic abuse cases

SPCA, SAFE Society working together to provide shelter for pets of women fleeing abuse

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Give Canada geese at Okanagan beaches a break

LETTER: Tour busses, full of photographers, local goose guides and an annual goose festival

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read