Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japan's World Cup winners get rock star treatment on return

(Reuters) - Japan gave its women's soccer team the rock star treatment on Tuesday on their return from an astonishing World Cup triumph in Germany.

Unused to the fanfare, the players filed quietly through the airport arrivals lobby in Tokyo, squinting as hundreds of excited fans snapped away with cameras.

"It hadn't sunk in that we'd won the World Cup until we landed at Narita airport," Japan captain Homare Sawa, the tournament's MVP and leading scorer, told reporters.

"I'd never seen so many people come to greet us," added the talismanic leader of Japan's "Nadeshiko" -- named after a type of frilly pink carnation, symbolizing grace and stoicism. "It was amazing."

Japan's world-beating women then faced a media crush of around 300 reporters, the World Cup, Sawa's MVP and Golden Ball and the Fair Play trophy gleaming in front of them.

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