They've had to juggle national expectations and individual determination, while we've just been juggling our work hours to get to the pub.
Professor Dave Collins, an expert in sports performance at the University of Edinburgh, says fans have completely different expectations to players and this affects how they deal with defeat. Top players develop "mission mentality" and cope with differences between national expectation and reality. We the fans, on the other hand, are a bit useless in this department.
"Major championships are very odd. It's like being in a bubble," says Prof Collins.
"It's like the Vietnam experience or the First World War. Outside there is relative calm. Then the players are put into this cauldron and then taken out again."
One of the best ideas for both fans and the players would be to repeat the welcome that Ireland's team were given when they returned home after defeat.
"Ireland was able to say, 'look at us, we have worth, we did fantastic," says Prof Collins.
"Everyone has to find a perspective and say things like, 'We did well, we got knocked out but we didn't do badly."
Carole Seheult, a consultant sports psychologist, says the deflation experienced by fans is often of their own making.