Defeated England football team arrive home

Image caption,
There were grim faces as the England team arrived at Heathrow airport

The England football team have returned to the UK after being knocked out of the World Cup by Germany.

The players looked tired as they passed through security at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport after a coach journey from their Rustenburg training base.

They touched down at Heathrow Airport at about 0620 BST.

Manager Fabio Capello has been told by the Football Association that he must wait two weeks to find out whether he can stay on in the post.

David Beckham led the team off the plane, with Jamie Carragher and Michael Carrick just behind him.

Players' wives, girlfriends and children were also among the group to emerge from the aircraft.

Worst defeat

Capello told a news conference on Monday that he wanted to continue despite England's second-round World Cup exit on Sunday.

The 4-1 defeat was England's worst in the tournament's history.

Capello became England manager in December 2007, and shortly before the World Cup, his contract - reportedly worth £6m a year - was extended until 2012.

But his managerial style and some of his decisions over team selection and formation were criticised following poor performances in the group stage.

Asked why the players had not lived up to the standards they reach regularly for their club sides, Capello said he believed they were "really tired".

"The coaches told me the physical condition of the players was not good and they did not play like the players that we know," he said.

There were rumours of a split within the England dressing room - something Capello strongly denied.

But midfielder Joe Cole said after Sunday's game that the squad still needed to address "a lot of issues".

'Absolutely gutted'

Fans whose World Cup adventure has also ended voiced their dismay at England's performances as they returned at Heathrow's Terminal 5.

Stephen Bailey, a train driver from Ramsgate, said: "We were supposed to fly home on Friday but paid an extra £1,000 each to watch the Germany game and we're absolutely gutted about it now."

Kerrie Hutchinson, a process manager from Hull, said: "It was very disappointing. We spent a lot of money to get there but we didn't see any passion at all from the players."

Image caption,
The team were driven to the airport in Johannesburg from their training base

The team returned home as Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologised to the FA over Frank Lampard's disallowed goal in the Germany match.

Lampard was denied a goal that would have made the score 2-2, even though his shot clearly crossed the line.

Meanwhile, the AFP news agency says a British journalist is being held over an intrusion into the England dressing room after their match against Algeria.

The national police commissioner is reported to have said South African police have arrested the journalist for harbouring a fan and believe the episode was deliberately orchestrated.

In a separate incident, the FA has confirmed that a number of England players were the victims of a theft at the team's hotel.

A number of unnamed players had shirts, a medal and underwear taken by members of the cleaning staff at their Royal Bafokeng base.

The goods were eventually located and returned, and five hotel workers were convicted of the thefts by a special World Cup court.

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