Wales' departing manager Mark Hughes admitted it was a sad farewell after his side slumped to defeat in the World Cup qualifier against Poland.
Poland left Wales' campaign in trouble with a 3-2 win in Cardiff.
Hughes, who will concentrate full-time on his job as Blackburn manager, said: "It's not the result we wanted. Sadly we came up short again.
"We get so far, but we have limitations and at times they catch us out, but the players gave everything for Wales."
He said: "We lost Ryan Giggs through illness before the kick-off, which didn't help.
"We got our noses in front, but at the level we are at, if you make mistakes you are punished and that's what happened to us.
"Poland hit us with three quality finishes and we just weren't up to the mark."
An emotional Hughes added: "At the end of the game I thanked the players for all their efforts in the last five years.
"They have been superb during my tenure. They have given me everything in terms of commitment and endeavour and have been a joy to work with.
"I hope they move forward under a new manager. It's time for everyone to stick together and get behind whoever gets the job."
Captain Gary Speed announced his retirement from international football after the game.
And Hughes said: "Individuals will make their own decision, and you must allow people to do that.
"A lot of hard work has gone into this with myself and my staff. We wanted to take Welsh football forward and I think we have done that.
"It would be a shame to unpick that and dismiss it just because we haven't got where we wanted to go.
"We have a group of players desperate to do well, but maybe the players need to hear different voices."