Ivory Coast boss Sven-Goran Eriksson feels it is a shame his team are likely to exit the World Cup without showing their true potential.
The Africans play North Korea in their final Group G game this afternoon needing a wildly unlikely scenario to unfold to reach the second round.
Not only have the Ivorians got to win in Nelspruit, but Brazil must also beat Portugal and Eriksson's men need to make up nine goals in the process.
It is a task the Swede regrets is all but beyond his team.
"The players are getting better and better and as a team we are getting better and better," said the former England manager.
"It is a pity for us it is the last game because I think in Europe, around the world, we could win more matches. It is a very good team.
"Whatever happens, Ivory Coast has a great future as a football team. I am really impressed with all the players we have."
Ivory Coast ground out a goalless draw against Portugal but were then edged out 3-1 by Brazil.
What really killed their hopes, however, was Portugal's 7-0 thrashing of North Korea on Monday.
Eriksson is at a loss to explain that result and now has no idea what to expect from Kim Jong-hun's side.
He said: "I think they were extremely well organised against Brazil and for 45 minutes against Portugal.
"Then I really don't know what happened in the second half, it looked too easy for Portugal.
"I don't know if they were tired, changed tactics, I don't know.
"Before that they were very organised and aggressive and I would expect that tomorrow, but I really don't know how they will do it after a defeat with seven."
Kim has been very cagey about his intended tactics, but expects his team to restore some pride after their embarrassment in Cape Town.
"I think we might go for the attack, we might go for the defence," said the North Korea coach. "It will depend on the situation, on how the game flows.
"If needed we will be more on the attack, but if we need to be more defensive, we will focus on that.
"Ivory Coast are bigger than us physically and are probably going to be very physical.
"But our players will resist strongly and I don't think that will affect us that much."