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How times change: French World Cup players return as heroes despite loss to Germany

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PARIS — The French World Cup squad returned to a warm welcome on Sunday, with more than 200 fans cheering them at the airport. Attitudes were vastly changed from the last World Cup, when French players went on strike in South Africa and caused national embarrassment.

PHOTO: France's national soccer team players, Patrice Evra, left, Yohan Cabaye, second from left, Olivier Giroud, center, and Mathieu Debuchy, second from right, arrive at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, Sunday, July 6, 2014. France were defeated 0-1 by Germany in a Soccer World Cup quarterfinal match on Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
France's national soccer team players, Patrice Evra, left, Yohan Cabaye, second from left, Olivier Giroud, center, and Mathieu Debuchy, second from right, arrive at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris, Sunday, July 6, 2014. France were defeated 0-1 by Germany in a Soccer World Cup quarterfinal match on Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The 2014 squad was almost completely revamped and all was forgiven on Sunday, as the team known as "Les Bleus" signed autographs, two days after a quarterfinal loss to Germany knocked them out of the tournament in Brazil.

"We are proud of what they did, what they accomplished and we've very proud that their new image has erased the past. This is a great team," said Melanie Petit, who was among the supporters at the airport.

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