|The F.Y.R. of Macedonia team at their triumphal return to Skopje, welcomed by more than 100,000 people |
FYR of Macedonia saw their magical run at the EuroBasket come to an end when Damjan Stojanovski missed a potential game-tying lay-up in the waning seconds of the bronze-medal game against Russia.
Though the Russians won 72-68, there was only euphoria for the FYR of Macedonia squad after they flew back to the capital Skopje.
There is no doubting the love and admiration the fans and national team have for each other because the players repeatedly talked about their supporters while in Lithuania.
Therefore, it was no surprise that more than 5,000 people met the FYR of Macedonia team at the airport.
The players took an open top bus ride from Skopje Airport into the city where more than 100,000 cheered in the city square.
The country's leader, President Gjorge Ivanov, handed the order of merit to national team coach Marin Dokuzovski.
"The nation has united in the moments of happiness that you have given us," said President Ivanov.
"We were very sad because we didn't bring you a medal," Dukuzovski said to the assembled masses.
"But now, seeing you all here, we don't need a medal.
"You are our medal.
"Even if you give us gold now, we give it back.
"We don't want the gold, we want you."