Spain greets World Cup heroes

Spain’s World Cup winners enjoyed a heroes’ reception as jubilant supporters took to the streets of Madrid in their droves to welcome home Vicente Del Bosque’s history-makers today.

Spain, who last night claimed their first ever World Cup title after Andres Iniesta’s extra-time winner earned them a 1-0 final victory over Holland in Johannesburg, landed back in Madrid this afternoon before embarking on an evening of official celebrations and festivities.

Those celebrations included meeting members of the Royal Family and the Prime Minister before taking an open-top bus ride through the streets of the Spanish capital, where rows and rows of well-wishers – expected to number more than a million – had been waiting for hours to cheer the team on from the pavements and road.

Having landed at Madrid’s Barajas airport at around 3pm local time today, the squad were immediately taken to a hotel to eat and prepare before making their way to the Royal Palace, where they had a reception with King Juan Carlos just before 6pm.

With captain Iker Casillas cradling the World Cup trophy, the squad and team officials then made their way to the Moncloa section of the city, where they met Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Coach Del Bosque said at a brief presentation: “This cup, this triumph is for all of you, and for the whole Spanish football factory.”

The European and world champions then boarded an open-top bus at around 2000 before slowly making their way into the heart of the city, which last night saw hundreds of thousands of fans celebrate deep into the night after watching Spain’s historic victory on giant screens in Madrid’s main Paseo de Castellana and in bars and homes across the city.

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