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A huge crowd welcomed Lithuania's men's national basketball outside Vilnius Town Hall on Monday night after it flew back from Spain where the team came in fourth in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

The team was taken to the ceremony straight from Vilnius Airport on a special bus to be welcomed by several thousand fans.

"I would like to congratulate our basketball players and their coaches with great performance during the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Although we came a little short of winning medals, you fought in the way that makes the whole of Lithuania bow their heads before you. The whole of Lithuania are proud of you and the whole of Lithuania thank you," Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius told the players before giving the team's leader Paulius Jankūnas a symbolic check for 240,000 litas (EUR 69,000), a sum the team will get from the state for the fourth place.

Meanwhile the team's head coach Jonas Kazlauskas thanked fans for their support.

"On behalf of the team, I would like to thank you for loving basketball. Expectations are not always fulfilled but we are trying and will continue doing so," he said.

On Saturday, Lithuania lost to France 93:95 in the match for the third place in the world championship and ended up fourth.

BNS