TENS of thousands of fans have gathered in Zagreb to welcome back Croatia after the World Cup final.

Luka Modric and Co were beaten in the final by France on Sunday ending a magnificent tournament in Russia.

 Croatia fans partied long into the night as their heroes returned

AFP

Croatia fans partied long into the night as their heroes returned
 Croatia supporters were out in force to welcome back their stars

AFP

Croatia supporters were out in force to welcome back their stars
 Croatia fans gave their stars a heroes' welcome after reaching the final

AFP

Croatia fans gave their stars a heroes’ welcome after reaching the final
 Tens of thousands of Croatians have gathered in central Zagreb to welcome home the squad

EPA

Tens of thousands of Croatians have gathered in central Zagreb to welcome home the squad
 Croatia far exceeded expectations to get to the World Cup final - where they were beaten 4-2 by France

EPA

Croatia far exceeded expectations to get to the World Cup final – where they were beaten 4-2 by France
 The players will go on an open-top bus parade from the airport to Ban Jelacic Square then onto the Presidential palace

EPA

The players will go on an open-top bus parade from the airport to Ban Jelacic Square then onto the Presidential palace
Crowds cheer on Croatia World Cup team in open-top bus parade to the capital Zagreb

Now, the Croatian people will greet their returning heroes amid raucous scenes in the capital.

With the players expected home on Monday afternoon, fans have already started to fill Ban Jelacic square in Zagreb.

Giant banners and flags were passed around fans, who were spotted wearing the famous red and white shirt of Croatia.

Flares and smoke grenades were seen being let off, while some fans were even seen pitching up on their roofs to get a better view of the squad.

 The statue of Croatian hero Josip Jelacic was draped in a red and white chequered flag

Reuters

The statue of Croatian hero Josip Jelacic was draped in a red and white chequered flag
 Some fans took to climbing onto their roofs to get a better view

Reuters

Some fans took to climbing onto their roofs to get a better view
 Huge banners and flags were passed around among supporters in Zagreb

Reuters

Huge banners and flags were passed around among supporters in Zagreb

The statue of war hero turned governor Ban Josip Jelacic was also draped in a red and white chequered flag.

A stage has been set up where manager Zlatko Dalic and Modric – who was named player of the tournament on Sunday – are likely to address the crowd.

The Croatian players were spotted on Monday morning at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, preparing to fly home.

Modric was spotted wearing a silver medal around his neck, with glum faces etched across the faces of players and staff.

Incredible scenes as World Cup finalists Croatia have bus parade in Zagreb
 A young fan wearing a water polo cap is held aloft by his father

Reuters

A young fan wearing a water polo cap is held aloft by his father
 Croatians have been in the main square since early this morning to welcome home their players

EPA

Croatians have been in the main square since early this morning to welcome home their players

But the smile will return to their faces when they see how many fans have come out to greet them.

Local media reports there will be an open-top bus parade for the squad from Franjo Tudman Airport to the centre of Zagreb.

Croatian star Vida celebrates with a bottle of wine following semi-final win against England
 Luka Modric, wearing his silver medal, will return to Zagreb from Russia on Monday afternoon

Reuters

Luka Modric, wearing his silver medal, will return to Zagreb from Russia on Monday afternoon
 There are similar scenes in France were thousands of fans are gathering close to the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate winning the tournament

AP:Associated Press

There are similar scenes in France were thousands of fans are gathering close to the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate winning the tournament

Thousands of red and white are expected to be released to mark the return, while there will be a performance from Croatian band the Zapresic Boys.

After the parade, the squad will make their way to Croatian presidential palace in Pantovcak, where Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic will present them with medals.

There are similar scenes in Paris, where thousands of fans are gathering close to the Arc de Triomphe for a parade by the World Cup winners.



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