Zagreb comes to a standstill as Croatians flock to the capital to welcome home football heroes

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Time Out contributors

Anyone trying to order fast food or visit a supermarket in Zagreb yesterday evening could be forgiven for believing they were living in some kind of post apocalypse. Popular websites collating available food delivery services showed that nothing in the Zagreb area was working. Phones went unanswered and businesses were closed as the whole country watched the World Cup Final and then celebrated as Croatia received the competition's Silver medals.

Disruption of normal life in the capital continues today as over 100, 000 are expected to line the streets to welcome home the Croatian national team. They may not have won first place, but they gave their all in the competition and reached further than any Croatian team has before. Theirs will be a heroes' welcome.

The team will arrive at Zagreb's impressive Franjo Tuđman airport on a specially branded plane at around 2 pm. There they will board two open top buses (one for players, one for coaching staff) and drive through Pleso on Ulica Rudolfa Fizira until the road meets Zagrebačka, where surely most fans from the Velika Gorica area will be there to wave them on. 

The party will continue down Zagrebačka, past Velika Mlaka and Veliko Polje until it takes Avenija Većeslava Holjevca and passes through Buzin. From there, the bus will pass through Novi Zagreb on Ulica Savezne Republike Njemačke before turning left on Avenija Dubrovnik, passing between Središće and Sopot until it rejoins Avenija Većeslava Holjevca just before Avenue Mall and takes the Most Slobode into the city centre.

Passing over Slavonska avenija to take Hrvatske bratske zajednice, the buses will drive down the side of Sveučilišna livada before turning left on Vukovarska, near Lisinski, and skirt the edges of the centre until the road meets Savska cesta. After passing Studentski centar Sveučilišta u Zagrebu and The Westin, they will continue past Trg Franklina Roosevelta on the left and then Trg Republike Hrvatske on the right before driving up Frankopanska and then turning right on Ilica and into Trg bana Josipa Jelačića. 

The journey is expected to take more than an hour, giving fans opportunity to properly see the players and special restrictions mean there will be a complete halt of traffic along the route taken between 2pm and 3.30pm. Tram lines will also not be operating in Zagreb centre from 11 am to 6 pm, however, the city council has said that all public transport will be free of charge today in order to make travelling fans feel welcome for the homecoming parade.

At 5:30 pm, the team, plus coach Zlatko Dalić and his staff are expected to arrive at Pantovcak, the President’s office, where they will be awarded medals and official recognition from the Republic of Croatia. Such recognition joins the silver medals the team will already be wearing, plus the prestigious Golden Ball award, which Croatia's captain Luka Modrić won for being the best player in this 2018 competition. Much deserved it was too. 

Partying may well continue after the parade, with many having suspected that today would have been declared a national holiday, had the team won. But, fingers crossed, there may be some fast food delivery options open by the evening.

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