England Under-17s boss Steve Cooper claimed "the best team lost", as his Young Lions slipped to a narrow defeat against Spain in the Euro quarter final on Sunday.
Cooper’s side created and spurned a number of chances across the 80 minutes in Baku, but a first-half goal from Spain’s Francisco Garcia ultimately proved to be the difference.
Spain 1-0 England
UEFA European U17 Championship
Sunday 15 May 2016
And the head coach was left in no doubts afterwards that his players deserved better than missing out on a semi-final spot.
"It is a really tough one to take," said Cooper.
"But listen, I haven’t got any complaints from the players’ perspective. I thought their attitude was brilliant and it’s a very hot day here.
"We were playing against a good team as well, but I actually thought the best team lost here today, you can see that from the chances alone and Jared [Thompson] didn’t have a real save to make.
"Their keeper was probably their best player today so I think that tells you a lot about the game."
The result brings to an end the team’s Euro campaign which had seen Cooper’s side progress through two qualifying rounds before heading out to Azerbaijan for the Finals.
And despite the defeat on Sunday, Cooper believes his squad head home with the benefit of important tournament experience for all concerned.
"We’ve all experienced the fine margins of tournament football there today - we could have scored three goals easily on another day and we had some good chances, where we built from the back," he explained.
"I was really happy with large parts of the performance today, and we haven’t got too high or low after results and we’ve always said it would be a learning experience for the players.
"But it is really tough to take today for all of us – ultimately they will learn from it and they’ll be better for it next time."