Thousands of people mobbed the streets of Bogota to grab a glimpse of their heroes as Colombia's FIFA World Cup™ squad arrived home Sunday after their historic run to the quarter-finals.
The Colombian capital threw a massive party for coach Jose Pekerman and his squad after the Argentine led Colombia to the last eight for the first time, where they narrowly went down to hosts Brazil 2-1 in Fortaleza on Friday.
The Avianca airlines plane carrying the squad from Brazil was greeted at El Dorado airport by a huge arc of water fired by local fire crews and the players were led off the aircraft along a red carpet and to an open-top bus. Security officers and airport workers scrambled to shake hands, kiss or grab the autographs of their returning heroes.
"Thanks for always being there, thanks for the support, we love you," James Rodriguez, Colombia's star forward and currently top scorer at the World Cup with six goals, told the fanatical crowd. Nadia Caracol, one of the Avianca flight attendants, gushed: "It was the most exciting flight of my life."
Thousands of people, many of them wearing the team's yellow shirt, hit the streets of Bogota early to get a prime place to see the bus. "We are very happy here waiting for our great team, we are winners for having reached this point of the tournament," Eduardo, a fan accompanied by his two daughters, told reporters.