Mile Jedinak's Australia side rounded off their World Cup campaign with a 3-0 defeat to current holders Spain in Curitiba.
The Eagles skipper was powerless to stop a much-changed Spain side taking out their frustrations on the Socceroos, who themselves decided to give game time to some fresh faces with the game being a dead rubber for both sides.
After David Villa had given his side a half-time lead, further strikes from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata ensured that Australia finished bottom of a tough group without a win, but plenty of positives to take into the future.
Following the match, the Palace captain suggested that the heat and standard of the opposition were the main reasons for his side's early exit.
“They definitely both come into play with the way the games have gone – they've been such high intensity all the way through,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “But at this level, it something you have to deal with if you want to play against this sort of opposition. That’s the level we've got to try and get to.
“It was a tough game, we started really well but we let them back in and obviously we know the quality they've got. We were a little bit unfortunate today, we conceded three goals and that’s what you get against quality opposition.”
Despite having nothing to show for plenty of effort on the field, personally the tournament has been a good one for Jedinak who led his side in all three game and bagged a goal from the penalty spot against Holland in their second game which briefly threatened to upset one of the favourites to lift the trophy.
“I've been honoured to lead this bunch of boys in the heat of battle at the World Cup on the biggest stage, it’s been an absolute honour and a pleasure,” he added. “Obviously I've had some great support from my teammates and the senior players in the group. Not only that but we just bonded together and you can see out there we don’t want to let each other down.
“We were working doubly hard for each other. That showed, and I can’t fault anybody.
“Scoring the goal that put as ahead against the Netherlands [was the highlight]. What happened after that, it’s hard to say I’m not disappointed, because I am disappointed considering how we've played.
"It’s one thing I hope everybody takes away from this. It was good but we've still got a really long way to go.”
For Jedinak now thoughts turn to the Asian Cup competition next summer which Australia will be hosting, and the midfielder believes that the experiences learnt in Brazil will stand his side in good stead for that challenge.
“The team has grown, we know that, and we know some of the stuff we play [is competitive],” he said. “It’s about now taking the next step and turning those positives into results and points. We've been challenged to get better, not only individually but collectively and that starts now.”