We weren't good enough, says Team GB captain Ryan Giggs after exit

 

Great Britain's football captain Ryan Giggs is putting a brave face on his first and almost certainly last experience of a major international tournament.

It ended in the disappointment of defeat in a penalty shoot-out and elimination at the quarter-final stage; which as several Manchester United colleagues past and present could have told him is just about par for the course.

"We weren't good enough, that's the bottom line," he confessed after a 1-1 draw against South Korea in his native Cardiff was followed by a 5-4 defeat on penalties, an inconsolable Daniel Sturridge having his kick saved by the Koreans' substitute goalkeeper Lee Bum-young. Like the women's team, who lost their quarter-final on Friday, the men appeared to have been building some momentum as the competition progressed, only to produce their worst performance when it mattered most.

The players and coaches of both sexes seem certain to go down as the last for many years - if not decades - to represent GB, for the barriers to competing in anything other than a home tournament are formidable. Above all is the problem of the qualifying tournaments, which are usually the men's European Under 21 Championship and the women's World Cup, both competed for by individual home nations. Then there is all the politics that ensued with those other home countries this time.

"I would like other players to experience what I have experienced - the whole Olympic attitude. It can only be good for players' development," Giggs said. "I will always cherish this." The GB manager Stuart Pearce, having seen the latest of his many dramatic penalty shoot-outs go the wrong way, was more realistic: "I don't think it will happen again. Where will we find the time to enter into a qualification tournament?"

Pearce and the women's coach Hope Powell now revert to their full-time jobs, each with the prospect of another major tournament next summer. The men's Under-21 side are well placed to reach a fourth successive European Championship, in Israel, and the women need only win at home to Croatia next month to make their European Championship finals too.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence