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BOGOTA, Colombia – To their country, they are heroes and they felt it throughout the tournament and when got home.
Members of Colombia's national soccer team have been welcomed home from the World Cup in Brazil with shouts of thanks from grateful compatriots - a heroes' welcome.
Thousands of fans turned out for the Sunday homecoming of superstar James Rodriguez, his teammates and coach Jose Pekerman following their 2-1 loss to Brazil in the quarterfinals on Friday. Colombia won the previous four games, against Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan and Uruguay.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos sent a message thanking the team "for so much joy and for teaching us how to dream."
It was soccer-crazy Colombia's best-ever World Cup performance, as it reached the quarterfinals for the first time. Its earlier success in the tournament delighted Colombians who hope unity can help end a half-century of conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.