The Spanish indoor football team arrived in Madrid to a heroes' welcome today after winning their fourth consecutive UEFA European Futsal Championship title, and sixth overall, in Zagreb on Saturday.
Beaten twice before by Spain in the finals of 1996 and 2005, Russia were 34 seconds from a win, when a deflected Sergio Lozano shot forced extra time. Lozano's shooting prowess broke Russian hearts again and Luis Amado's last-gasp clearance goal ensured another European title for Spain.
Education, Culture and Sports Minister, José Ignacio Wert, welcomed the team home today, congratulating them on their win against Russia in Croatia and, promised to go and watch the team in the World Cup finals in November in Bangkok.
The minister congratulated each member of the team, one by one, thanking them for stopping by the ministry after such a long journey, especially the team captain Luis Amado, to whom he gave some baby sports shoes as a gift, as he had become father to a baby girl whilst away competing in Croatia.
The team gave Wert a an official team shirt signed by all the international players, which he promised to wear at the Futsal World Cup, joking that "soon there won't be enough room for all the stars on the shirt".
Team coach, José Venancio López, spoke on behalf of the whole team, saying: "I am extremely proud to manage a team that never fails, that always rises to the occasion and is exemplary on and off the pitch. They are an example for the whole world. Our main aim is to win, but we represent a country and a federation. Yet again, we have put Spanish sport into the European limelight and we're very happy".