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Spaniards Celebrate Country's First World Cup Title

  • VOA News

Spain's triumphant national football team has returned home from South Africa, a day after securing the country's first World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.

Millions of fans dressed in the team colors of red and yellow danced in the streets into the early hours of Monday morning.

Later, the Spanish team was received by Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos, who personally greeted each member of the 23-man squad and thanked them for bringing Spain its first World Cup. The team was scheduled to take a five-kilometer open air bus ride past huge crowds in Madrid.

After the victory Sunday night, fireworks lit up the sky across Spain as celebrations broke out throughout the country. A crowd estimated at 300,000 gathered to watch the match live on giant TV screens in downtown Madrid.

In the Netherlands, banner newspaper headlines read, "Not Again," a reference to the Dutch side's third loss in a World Cup final.

Despite the defeat, a planned welcome and parade will go ahead on Tuesday afternoon. City officials say the players will tour Amsterdam's canals in a boat, allowing fans to gather along the banks to see the players, before a reception in Museum Square. The team will also meet with Queen Beatrix in the Hague.

Spain won the first World Cup ever held in Africa in the 116th minute of the match when Andres Iniesta took a crossing pass from substitute Cesc Fabregas and blasted it past the Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and into the net.

It is the first time a European team has won the World Cup when the tournament was played outside of Europe. Both Spain and the Netherlands were attempting to win their first World Cup titles.

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