Germany apologizes to fans for low-key return

Published Jul. 13, 2010 3:34 p.m. ET

Germany has apologized to fans who were denied a glimpse of their heroes when they made a low-key return home after finishing third at the World Cup.

The players decided they didn't want a big reception after their semifinal loss to Spain. They landed in Frankfurt on Monday and separated to individual destinations without greeting fans gathered at the airport.

In an open letter published on its website on Tuesday, the team said it "deeply regrets" the "displeasure and incomprehension" caused. It said it hadn't expected fans would go to the airport and didn't intend to anger them.

But the letter stressed the players didn't want to be celebrated for finishing third. It added: "this team wants more, for itself and its fans."