Romania boss Anghel Iordanescu said defeat to Albania had been "painful" as they were eliminated from Euro 2016 at the group stage.
They had needed to beat Albania in their final match to claim a top-three finish in Group A, but Armando Sadiku's first-half header gave their opponents a first ever victory at a major tournament.
Iordanescu said after the match: "We had a good performance against France and many scoring opportunities against Switzerland. Today, this is a painful loss for the Romania team."
Asked if Romania deserved to qualify, he said: "Yes and no. If you don't get a win, you don't deserve to qualify. I said yesterday that this was the game of a generation, and it's true: qualification would have been a reward for this generation. They did everything they could to qualify."
He added: "A loss is a loss and we're really sorry for what happened. We had many opportunities to score. We started the match well and controlled the game. Because of a mistake in our defence, we conceded a goal.
"In the second half, we tried to impose our style of play and take possession. Unfortunately we didn't score. If we'd scored, perhaps the game would've been different. I think the Albanian supporters gave energy to the Albania team and that helped them to score."
Romania midfielder Nicolae Stanciu said the team's failure to create and take chances had proved costly.
"I feel very, very disappointed," he said. "I can't find the words to express what I'm feeling right now and the fact that we've disappointed millions of people who believed in us.
"I think we controlled the game but we didn't manage to create clear chances -- we weren't decisive enough in front of goal. They scored at the end of the first half and that changed everything."