MADRID, July 12 (UPI) -- Madrid was thronged Monday with hundreds of thousands of revelers who lined the streets to welcome home the World Cup champion Spanish national team.
The players passed through choked streets in an open-top bus parade that capped nearly 24 straight hours of partying celebrating the soccer-mad country's first World Cup title, a 1-0 overtime victory over the Netherlands Sunday in Johannesburg, South Africa, The New York Times reported.
Before the parade, the players were officially recognized and congratulated by King Juan Carlos and his family at the Royal Palace of Madrid as well as by the Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at Moncloa Palace, the newspaper said.
"You have shown the capacity of Spain to reach united the successes that we aim for," Juan Carlos told the players Monday.
Zapatero hugged the players as they stepped off their bus and appeared on a platform alongside them, singling out winning goal-scorer Andres Iniesta for praise in a speech, the Times reported.