New Wales captain Aaron Ramsey cut a dejected figure at the end
By David Dulin
BBC Sport Wales at the Millennium Stadium
Outplayed, outclassed, lacking quality, same old story, shocking, disgraceful, inept.
Those were some of the words and phrases used by pundits and supporters to describe Wales' performance in their 2-0 Euro 2012 qualifying defeat by England on Saturday.
Hope was the feeling going into the game and lots of talk of being positive, but within the first 14 minutes, all that had gone in front of a sell-out 68,959 crowd.
England took the game to Wales and new manager Gary Speed's young side buckled.
From then on it was more like a friendly and England did not need to get out of first gear as the gulf between the two sides became apparent.
While Wales changed things around in the second half and gave it a go - which is what supporters wanted to see from the off - the damage had already been done.
The fairytale start was not to be for Speed in his first competitive game in charge and for Aaron Ramsey wearing the captain's armband for the first time.
But while the inevitable disappointment is there and the inquest begins, the mood remains positive and looking to the future.
Wales have no chance of qualifying for next year's Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine having lost all four qualifying games and they prop up Group G.
But the message from the camp is be patient.
Speed offers no excuses
"Obviously it's disappointing like all defeats are but with the young players we have it's been one of the most satisfying weeks I've had in Welsh football," said former captain Craig Bellamy.
"The attention to detail was brilliant. We couldn't have done any more off the pitch leading up to the game.
"The first 20 minutes we got blown away a little bit and we have to learn from that.
"But the mentality, especially the second half, we were still trying to do the right things because we're changing our way of playing and a lot of the young players kept that way of thinking and tried to do the right things.
"After defeats, you've seen me down because I don't believe there was much more going to happen next time.
"But I believe with the young players we have, this team will grow and this team will get better in the next few years.
"Sometimes with Wales, we've got to look towards a new era. We do have players who retire early and good teams rarely come and go.
"We've had to be a little patient but there is a real good group of players here. I've seen them in training and some of the boys who weren't playing today like Joe Allen who is an exceptional talent.
Welsh football for the first time in my time... is really on a high
Ex-Wales captain Craig Bellamy
"Welsh football for the first time in my time - with Mark Hughes we had a great time - but this is really on a high.
"Am I going see it? Of course I'm not. In six or seven years time I'm going to be watching like everyone else, but I'll remember this day and the education that these boys had today to take them on and move them forward as a nation and individual players."
And the players of the future include 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder Ramsey who has been chosen by Speed to succeed Bellamy as Wales captain.
"It was a special occasion for me but obviously the result has put a massive downer on it," said Ramsey.
"I'll bounce back from this and learn from it and hopefully we can continue to progress and become successful.
"Maybe that [result] was us getting used to a new approach to the game that we've been working on this week.
"But we'll carry on working on it and I'm sure we'll do better in the future. We created a few chances second half and we had a few more shots on goal. Overall it wasn't enough, we didn't do it on a regular basis.
"We need to start the game a lot stronger next time and create opportunities on a more consistent basis.
"Our aim is to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 so we're preparing for that now and this was another stepping stone in the right direction.
"We can take a lot from it and we'll learn from it.
"I want to say thank you very much to the fans because they were outstanding today even though we went two goals down in the early stages of the game, they stuck by us."
If Wales want to keep selling out the Millennium Stadium, they are going to need to show signs of progress soon, because while the message is to be patient, often that is what is lacking in football.
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