Germany players criticized over 'gaucho' danceGermany's Bastian Schweinsteiger stands with the trophy after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Germany won the match 1-0. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
BERLIN (AP) -- The German Football Federation is defending Germany's World Cup-winning players after they performed a routine that poked fun at defeated opponent Argentina.
During Tuesday's raucous Berlin victory party, six players bent double and sang ''this is how the gauchos walk,'' then jumped up singing ''this is how the Germans walk.''
The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the act hurt Germany's image as a tolerant nation and a leading Twitter trend in Germany Wednesday was ''(hash)gauchogate.''
Federation president Wolfgang Niersbach said the players performed the routine spontaneously and didn't intend to mock anyone.
Niersbach says he'll write to Argentine counterpart Julio Grondona to assure him ''the action was in no way meant disrespectfully.''