Bogota: Thousands of Colombian fans crowded the streets here to welcome their national football team that reached the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, losing to hosts Brazil.
The Colombian team arrived in Eldorado International Airport here Sunday and the players were transported in an open-top bus that wound its way through several streets to reach Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park, where some 125,000 people waited for their heroes.
The 23 players and coach Jose Pekerman were presented on a stage and cheered for several minutes by the crowd. The team also danced on the stage.
"I greet all the Colombian people because we always feel them very close and they gave us all the strength. Colombia took a huge step and it is an awakening, we have a marvellous generation. We are as good as the best teams. It was a great satisfaction to work with this group," said Pekerman.
The team thanked the support given by the Colombian people during the 2014 World Cup and for the amazing welcome given by thousands here.
"Thank you, Colombia. In the name of the group we want to thank you and also I want to recall someone who is not here but still is part of the process: (Radamel) Falcao, we love you very much. He is watching this," said James Rodriguez, who leads Brazil 2014`s top scorers list with six goals.
After the event in Simon Bolivar Park, the Colombian team travelled to the headquarters of Colombian Football Federation where they met President Juan Manuel Santos, who congratulated them on their outstanding performance in Brazil.