Midfielder Keith Andrews admitted the Republic of Ireland were no match for world champions Spain in Thursdays' Euro 2012 clash in Gdansk.
"They are the best side I have played against," said the West Bromwich player after his side's crushing 4-0 defeat.
"We shot ourselves in the foot again by conceding silly goals. Spain are such a quality side and punish mistakes.
"We are playing for pride now and for the fans who have travelled in their thousands to support us."
Ireland, beaten 3-1 by Croatia in their Euro 2012 opener, knew they had to avoid defeat to stand any chance of advancing into the quarter-finals.
However, they have tasted comprehensive defeat in both of the fixtures they have played in their first trip to major finals in a decade.
The latest reverse was Ireland's heaviest defeat under manager Giovanni Trapattoni and meant they were the first nation definitely eliminated from Euro 2012.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who scored twice for Spain, said: "We knew we needed to win this game and the next one.
"With the early goal everything was easier and the performance of the team was really great.
"We are well on the way to getting through to the next round."