A shell-shocked Chris Coleman was at a loss to explain his side's "unacceptable" performance in their humiliating 6-1 defeat to Serbia in Novi Sad.
Wales turned in an inept display littered with horrendous defensive errors as they suffered their third heaviest defeat since 1930. It was hoped that this generation of players could end a wait to reach a major finals that stretches back to 1958, but on the evidence of this shambolic display Wales are unlikely to be in Brazil in 2014.
The result leaves Wales rooted to the foot of Group A, and Coleman said: "Obviously I did not see it coming. We knew it would be difficult coming here but on the back of Friday's performance against Belgium we thought we could get something, but we can't accept that level of performance."
He added: "To say it is disappointing is an understatement. We have to do much better than that and we are capable of doing much better.
"At times it was men against boys, the goals we conceded were criminal really and the individual errors were disappointing.
"To lose 6-1 is an absolute hammering and we can't ignore that, the manner of the performance was particularly disappointing.
"At this level you cannot gift teams goals, you have to at least be hard to beat and play with a bit of pride and we didn't do that. We caved in."
Coleman is prepared to deal with any criticism that comes his way.
He said: "When you lose 6-1 and the team performs like that you have to take responsibility. I don't worry about any pressure or negativity aimed at me, I have seen it all before.
"This is the first time being an international manager when I have been taught a lesson and that hurts more than anything else. We have let people down but thankfully there is another one coming up."