Socceroo keeper Mat Ryan says conceding nine goals at the World Cup was "disappointing" but admitted the short preparation time and the quality of opposition were factors in the three group stage losses.
A small contingent of Socceroos and support staff, including Adam Taggart, Alex Wilkinson and Ryan, touched down in Sydney on Thursday night to be greeted by large media scrum.
The trio was clearly fatigued after a long flight via Santiago.
Ryan in particular was disappointed the tournament didn’t go better for the green and gold who lost to Chile, Holland and Spain in group B of the World Cup.
“Personally I planned it to go a little bit better both personally and as a team.
"But nonetheless it was a great experience,” he said at Sydney airport.
“It’s a little bit disappointing to come home with nothing to show for our efforts.
“Definitely a missed opportunity.
“The boss [Ange Postecoglou] didn’t want us to take it for granted. Obviously we had all the hype about a team building for the future, but we didn’t want to take it for granted.
“You never know where you’re going to be in four years’ time so we thought we’d done enough work to go over there and be pretty competitive.
“And in the majority of games, we were - especially in the first two games.
"But at that level, it only takes one little slip up for the opposition to take their chances. And that’s what’s punished us at the end of the day," added the former Central Coast keeper and current Belgian keeper of the year.
Short preparation time with a virtually new squad meant Brazil 2014 was always going to be an uphill task for the new-look ‘Roos.
Three losses are tough to take, particularly for Ryan who had to pick the ball out of the net nine times in a 3-1 loss to Chile, a 3-2 reversal to Holland and a 3-0 loss to Spain.
With a little better defensive shape and structure, it might have been a different end result in all three games.
“In saying that I think the boys did a fairly good job in most of the games. But you give them [the opposition] a chance at that level and they take it,” he said.
“Hopefully one I can learn from and become a better keeper."
Ryan said that the three games he played at the World Cup, in which he started and played every minute against Chile, Holland and Spain, were just like any other.
“You don’t have time to look at who you’re playing against, though I’m sure in the coming days it’ll start to sink in,” he said.
The young keeper who took over from Socceroo legend Mark Schwarzer added that the vibe in Brazil was a memory that will live long.
“Everyone waving at you in the streets, the hotel, everything, it was unbelievable.
A good learning curve for all of us,” he added.
“Upon reflection, it’s good to play at that top level – and it was the first time for me playing against the superstars of the game – and hopefully it’s a level I can achieve more regularly.”
Ryan starts pre-season with his Belgian side Club Brugge on July 26.