England manager Roy Hodgson believes that his side can leave Euro 2012 with their heads held high following their quarter-final defeat to Italy.
The Three Lions were pinned back in their own half for large parts of the 120 minutes by the Azzurri on Sunday before eventually succumbing 4-2 on penalties to Cesare Prandelli`s side.
Nonetheless, despite losing in penalties at the quarter-final stage for the third time in the last five international competitions, the England manager believes his side have done well, remaining unbeaten in 90 minutes, although he has admitted that is a very minor consolation today.
"I think we’ve done well to come through the tournament without losing a match in normal time at least," Hodgson told reporters.
"It’s always sad to lose a match on penalties because you know it’s a bit of a lottery - I suppose we were half thinking with all the bad luck in the past that maybe this was going to be our lucky day but it wasn’t.
"It’s very difficult today to be thinking positively because we’re still very disappointed about not going through to the semi-finals. We wanted it so badly.
"We had our dreams and when your dreams are shattered you can’t put a positive spin on it but I think in time when I look back I won’t be so disappointed with the way we performed here and the way we’ve behaved here.
"I only hope it will set a platform for the future."
The former West Brom boss is under no illusions about the relatively small period of time he will get to work with players in between major tournaments, and he believes that these past five weeks have been invaluable in getting to know and work with his charges.
"I think you learn so much about the players and the team when you work with them," added Hodgson.
"One of the big problems for national team managers is often selecting from the stands a long way from the field and he’s watching the odd game of football and he’s deciding who are the best players and which players are the ones he doesn’t want to work with.
"Whereas when you have been with a group players for a period of time you get to know them not only as players but as people and furthermore you get a much better idea of how good they are when you work with them on a daily basis.
"It’s been invaluable these five weeks working with the players.
"I must say from a personal point of view I think they’ve behaved very creditably although we’re disappointed to have let people down by not winning the penalty shoot-out.
"I don’t honestly believe we let anyone down apart from that."