Roy Hodgson is using Germany's example as proof England fans should not feel too negative about the future of the national side.
Yet again in Kiev on Sunday, England crashed out at the quarter-final stage of a major competition on penalties. The fact they were comprehensively outplayed by Italy underlines how much work Hodgson has in front of him. However, he recalled the difficulties Germany were in prior to the 2006 World Cup, and how much progress they have made since then.
"Germany went into that tournament unfancied, with a new coach, a lot of new players we didn't know much about and older ones who had failed in previous tournaments," said Hodgson. "We have seen how well they have kicked on since 2006 and have to take heart from that."
Hodgson's optimism is fuelled by the emergence of a promising crop of young players.
Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all gained valuable experience in Poland and Ukraine, Phil Jones and Martin Kelly will also benefit from being around the squad.
Hodgson hinted Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling would have been involved had they not suffered late season injuries, while Jack Wilshere would surely have made the squad too had he not failed to make an appearance all season.
"There is good reason for optimism," he said. "We have some players coming through who are doing quite well at Under-21 level and I will be interested to see how they do in the Olympics.
"If it had not been for injuries to people like Smalling and Walker there would have been even more young players with us here.
"We have to believe. We have to see the positives where we can and try and ignore the fact that yes, it is another failure on paper because we have not got past the quarter-final stage.
"I don't believe there is as much negativity as perhaps there was. But the only way we can build upon what we have done here is by qualifying for Brazil and, when that tournament comes around, trying to better our previous record."