Tens of thousands of fans lined the streets of the Croatian capital and crammed into Ban Jelačić square to show their appreciation for the Croatian football team as they arrived home this afternoon after winning bronze at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) December 18, 2022
The team and staff landed at Zagreb’s Franjo Tuđman Airport at around 5:10 pm local time.
The bus carrying the team then made its way towards the centre and the main square where fans had been from the earlier afternoon.
Fans had lined the streets along the whole route.
Not even the cold temperatures put the fans off and when the team finally arrived on Ban Jelačić square in downtown Zagreb the flares, flags and partying began.
The players were introduced one by one on to the stage to celebrate the magnificent success with the fans. Prljavo Kazalište then played a number of their famous hits like “Ruža Hrvatska”, “Marina”, “Ne zovi, mama, doktora” and “Lupi petama”before the players took the microphone.
“Let’s all together now, for my Minister of Defence! Will you help me a little?” Domagoj Vida asked the crowd before getting the crowd to chant Josko Gvardiol’s nickname.
“Honestly, I won’t sing, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone. We love you a lot,” said Gvardiol.
“Good evening, Croatia! Thank you for coming in such large numbers. Congratulations on everything. I don’t know what to tell you,” Marcelo Brožović said next.
Captain Luka Modrić was next to address the crowd.
“Good evening, Zagreb. Good evening, Croatia! It’s nice to see you again after four and a half years. Thank you for coming in such large numbers. We wanted to come away with the gold, but I think this third place is also a big deal. And your coming here shows that. I would also like to say that I am convinced that in the future this national team will bring gold to Croatia,” Modrić said.
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As the crowd began chanting for Modrić to keep playing for Croatia, coach Zlatko Dalić took the mic.
“Luka will stay, be sure of that. Nothing can stop us. Neither cold weather nor winter. Thank you for that,” said Dalić, as the crowd broke out into a chant of “Dalić, majstore (master)”.
“I wouldn’t be a master if there weren’t these people behind me. And so allow me to thank everyone, these people behind me who won bronze and who united Croatia again. They showed unity, humility, modesty, courage, determination, patriotism and faith. And for that, dear God rewarded them. Nothing is accidental. They deserve all the glory, all the honour. Yesterday I bowed to them and today I will on behalf of all of you. They deserve it, our Croatia deserves it and we are the proudest in the world. This is the Croatia of our dreams, Croatia as it must always be. We deserved it and we can freely say and thank those who brought our Croatia. We live the values and thank you dear people. Enjoy.”
“It is difficult to speak after these two sizes before me. Thank you all, you pushed us and I want to thank you all,” said Dominik Livaković.
“Good evening, Croatia. I repeat Brozović’s words: “Damn, how many of us are there”,” Dejan Lovren said.
The choir of HRM “Sveti Juraj” sang the national anthem “Moja Domovina” and “Lijepa li si”, as the fans lit flares in the crowd.
The party ended with a song chosen by Zlatko Dalić.”Croatio, iz duše te ljubim”.
You can watch the welcome party on the link below.