14 Jul 2010

Dutch fans welcome home World Cup footballers

6:59 am on 14 July 2010

Determined not to let defeat spoil a good party, some 700,000 fans turned out to welcome the Dutch football team home from the World Cup in a parade through Amsterdam's canals.

After coach Bert van Marwijk and captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst were knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the team were given a heroes' welcome by fans despite their 1-nil defeat to Spain in Monday's final in South Africa.

Winger Arjen Robben told a crowd of nearly 200,000 gathered in Amsterdam's Museum Square that Spain may be the World Champions but the Netherlands have the best fans in the world.

The warm welcome contrasted with harsh criticism of the final in newspaper editorials which said the team had deserved to lose because of their rough play against Spain.