Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has diverted attention away from his team and towards the Irish fans in the aftermath of his team's 2-0 defeat to Italy in the final game of Group C of Euro 2012.
Cesare Prandelli's Azzurri qualified for the quarter finals when goals in either half from Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli respectively granted them a 2-0 victory in Poznan. However, Robbie Keane praised the attitude of the fans and was apologetic towards the travelling fans.
"The last 3 games, the fans have been fantastic," Keane told RTE after the game. "And it's a shame that the team hasn't performed because the fans deserve it.
"We're disappointed," he conceded. "But we've been beaten by better teams I think."
"We wanted to give something to our fans and to ourselves to go home with and as we didn't we are not happy," Keane told reporters after the game. "We played well, it was a different game to the way we played previously but then come up two set pieces from which we concede and we know that it should be our stronger side.
He continued:"The tournament was as disappointing. After all we got beaten three times. But there can't be any complaints about the players, we all gave our one hundred percent, we can put our hand high and simply say that we were beaten by better boys.
"Of course, you come to this tournament with an aim to win, being so many years in football, being competitive, professional, you never think you will end up on the back foot.
"We have no excuses, our preparations went fine and we can stand here all night and discuss but we couldn't be prepared better.
He added: "The criticism is always there, [it] was for last four years and we have always been playing that way, got our results, got here so why change in the tournament?
"It's [Giovanni Trapattoni's] decision but we were quite happy with the way we played for four years."
The LA Galaxy striker was quite ambiguous when asked if any players would be retiring after what was statistically the worst ever Irish performance at a major tournament.
Goalkeeper Shay Given recently indicated that he thought it may be time for him to step aside after the tournament, while defender Richard Dunne also bemoaned the poor performance at Euro 2012, raising doubts over his international future.
"I don't know about that," admitted Keane. "We'll have to see."