Robbie Keane has urged his Republic of Ireland team-mates to hold their heads high after their brave exit from the World Cup on Wednesday night.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men succumbed to a controversial French winner in the second leg of their qualification play-off in Paris.
It came after Robbie's 41st international goal had levelled the aggregate scores following a 1-0 first leg defeat in Dublin last Saturday.
And the captain claims that there is no doubt as to who the better side was over the two games - although it is Les Bleus who are on the plane to South Africa.
A devastated Robbie said: "Over the two legs, we were certainly the better team. If you look at the chances of both teams, I don't recall them getting many.
"We caused them a lot of problems. We got down the sides, myself and Kevin Doyle were keeping the ball but they're through and that's the killer.
"We had plenty of chances. My touch let me down in one when I tried to take it around the goalkeeper and the ball went too far. Damien Duff had a good chance too."
He continued: "I told the lads in the dressing-room afterwards that we must keep our heads up. The most important thing is to never let yourself down and do as well as you can on the pitch for the country.
"Every one of these players and the substitutes that didn't come on all played a massive part and, as captain, I'm very proud to be part of the team. I'm just gutted we didn't make it to the end."