Croatians give heroes' welcome to World Cup squad

Croatians give heroes' welcome to World Cup squad”

In a World Cup final stadium packed with presidents, none had more fun than Emmanuel Macron.

Croatia returned to a heroes' welcome in Zagreb on Monday, in recognition of the team's historic run to the final in Moscow, where they went down to a battling defeat to France.

As a party began in the square to celebrate the team's performance a distraught supporter Aurora Krnic said with tears in her eyes that the second place was "still fantastic".

Sacked Croatian assistant coach Ognjen Vukojevic, who was dismissed during the World Cup for a video dedicating the quarter-final victory over Russian Federation to Ukraine, was seen joining in the team's celebrations on returning home.

"Champions! Champions!" roared the crowds as the players emerged from the plane and stepped on a red carpet placed on the tarmac at the Zagreb airport.

As France clinched its second-ever World Cup win over Croatia thanks to goals by migrants and a Muslim, fans and onlookers quickly pointed out the need for the country to apply its victories on the field to life off the field.

Croatia reached the final of the World Cup for the first time.

A crowd estimated at more than 100,000 thronged the capital's main square to see the players, led by captain and World Cup Golden Ball victor Luka Modric, parade through the streets on an open-top bus.

We also saw some tremendous displays of sportsmanship from Macron and Croatia president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. "I hope that this ... will boost the country's economic development and bring new jobs and young people back to the country".

For whatever reason, Croatia" s "Cinderella story' at this year's tournament has won the hearts of most of the world. Croatia's state railway company cut ticket prices by half so fans could get to the city. "Overall, I am proud".

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