DOHA - Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz rued the handful of missed chances his side had against holders France in Sunday's 3-1 last 16 loss but said the players could be proud after being part of their country's first knockout round appearance in 36 years.
Poland were indebted to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for keeping them in the contest after he saved from Aurelien Tchouameni and Ousmane Dembele, but dominant France finally got the breakthrough just before halftime through Olivier Giroud.
Kylian Mbappe bagged a sublime double that sealed Poland's fate, with captain Robert Lewandowski's retaken stoppage-time penalty reducing the deficit with the last kick of the game.
"Today we are sad and disappointed because we feel we could have played longer, if we'd scored first it (reaching the quarter-finals) could have been possible," said Michniewicz, whose contract was due to expire after Poland's campaign.
"We knew that we could still recover, we could attack and score, and we brought on another forward ... that third goal finished this match. Mbappe scored fantastically and Wojciech had a fantastic tournament but even he wasn't able to save us today.
"We have some limitations. But after weeks and months our perspective will change. We will proudly be able to say we achieved what Poland wasn't able to for 36 years."
Lewandowski had earlier fired wide after capitalising on a defensive mix-up before Piotr Zielinski was denied by keeper Hugo Lloris and Theo Hernandez on the rebound and Raphael Varane cleared Jakub Kaminski's follow-up off the line.
In Lewandowski, Poland had one of the most feared strikers spearheading their attack but he received little support from his team mates during their campaign, and again cut a lonely and frustrated figure up front against France.
Lewandowski, 34, may not be around for the next World Cup in 2026, having admitted that this year's tournament could be his last, and his late retaken penalty provided little consolation after a largely passive Polish performance.
"We fought, we created a couple of chances, some really clear ones, especially in the first half, it's a pity nothing went in," Lewandowski told Polish state broadcaster TVP.
"If we attack, or try to attack, it's a bit different but if we play defensively, there's no joy... We lacked quality to try to achieve a bit more here."
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris)