23 Jun 2015

Serbian fans celebrate World Cup win

7:43 am on 23 June 2015

Around 50,000 elated fans treated Serbia's Under-20 football team to a royal homecoming after they returned from winning the World Cup with a 2-1 win over favourites Brazil in Auckland on Saturday.

Serbia celebrates winning Fifa under-20 football World Cup in New Zealand 2015.

Serbia celebrates winning Fifa under-20 football World Cup in New Zealand 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Donning the Balkan country's flags and lighting dozens of flares, the fans crammed in front of Belgrade't city hall where the team arrived in an open-top bus.

"Serbia, we love you," coach Veljko Paunovic cried out from the balcony as his staff and players displayed the trophy and their gold medals.

"We had a dream and it came true after we beat the mighty Brazil to become the world champions," he added.

"We could feel the support from back home all the way to New Zealand," said captain Predrag Rajkovic, named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Rajkovic made a string of superb saves throughout the 24-team event, especially in Saturday's dramatic final in Auckland with Serbia scoring a late extra-time winner.

Serbian fans celebrate with their goalkeeper and Golden Glove winner Slobodan Rajkovic

Serbian fans celebrate with their goalkeeper and Golden Glove winner Slobodan Rajkovic Photo: Photosport

As fans danced to the tunes of local rock and pop bands blaring from the soundsystem, a banner reading "There is Hope" emerged from the crowd.

It referred to the poor results of Serbia's senior team, who have only a slim chance of reaching Euro 2016 after missing out on the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Earlier, Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic congratulated the team in their Stara Pazova training base on Belgrade's outskirts.

Nikolic received a shirt and a match ball signed by the players and said he was pleased the whole country could look up to its youth.

"I am even happier than the team because they may not be aware just how much they lifted Serbia after winning all their knockout round games after extra time or penalties," he said.

"The seniors ought to learn from these lads because I have learned a lot too."

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