Uruguay captain Diego Godin praised his teammates as "lions" after they reached the World Cup quarterfinals only to fall 2-0 to France, and said goalkeeper Fernando Muslera's error for the second goal should be forgiven.
Uruguay were semifinalists in 2010 but their campaign in Russia marked just the second time after 1970 that they had advanced to the quarterfinals, and Godin wanted their achievment recognised.
"I'm proud of my teammates -- they were lions," Godin said, as he and the Uruguay players came off the pitch in tears.
"We are a team where everyone gives everything in the matches and in preparation. I have only words of gratitude for my teammates," he added.
France won with a Raphael Varane glancing header in the first half and a goalkeeping fumble in the second that gifted Antoine Griezmann a soft goal. Griezmann shot from outside the box straight at Muslera, who attempted to palm the ball away but instead deflected it into the net.
"Fernando is a great goalkeeper ... We all make mistakes," Godin said. "On other occasions he has rescued us with incredible saves."
Muslera apologised for his error but rejected the thought that one mistake could haunt his career.
"I wanted to reject the ball but it hit just my left hand and beat it," Mulera said. These are things that can happen to a goalkeeper."
"I have to apologise to all the people in Uruguay and my teammates. I have to keep going forward for what's ahead. Everybody knows my personality, I'll be fine."
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez also said the goalkeeper had the full backing of the team and looked to the future.
"Muslera was our support during this entire process and I would never wash my hands of one of my players," Tabarez said. "Nothing is over for us today. Luckily there is a World Cup every four years and this effort continues."
Uruguay will have to decide whether to retain Tabarez, whose contract is set to expire, but the 71-year-old said it would be his decision on whether he returns.
"The only thing that is over for us today is this dream. But now we have to think about what lies ahead," Tabarez said. "We have to pursue our next dream and try to make it a reality.
"Of course the loss hurts, but we do not have the right to be dramatic. Maybe this is our reality. These matches are decided upon details. France beat us and they beat us well. We have to congratulate them.
"My contract is up today but the decision as to whether I stay or go is not up to me. After the match I met with the players and I told them to hold their heads high, there was no reprimand from me."