Ahead of this Women's World Cup, we were told the Football Ferns were going to France to make history.
It became an almost constant message, from the players and the New Zealand Football PR team.
In the end, they did make history, but not in a way they would have wanted.
Unfortunately this team will go down as one of the worst performing national sides this country has sent to a major tournament.
That might seem harsh, but not if you look at the context.
No New Zealand team has had a better build-up to a major tournament, not even the 2010 All Whites, with seven international matches leading in to the event.
No New Zealand team has boasted more experience, with 14 players having been involved in at least four World Cups and Olympics. Four have now contested seven pinnacle events. Nine have at least 90 caps. And that's without considering how much money has been poured into the Ferns programme this decade.
France was supposed to be the peak for this generation of players, who have had access to so many World Cups and Olympics due to direct entry and the ongoing weakness of female football in Oceania, but it feels like a low point.
Three defeats. No goals from the Ferns. Performances, especially against Canada and Cameroon, that lacked grit, heart and hunger, never mind precision, creativity and quality.
There is an argument they were unlucky against the Netherlands — and they had some chances — but the late Dutch goal was a product of the Ferns' approach in the final 20 minutes, when they sat deeper and deeper, inviting more and more pressure, until they were punished.
The nadir was the passive 2-1 loss to Cameroon. Surely the strategy was to keep possession and tire the African side but the Ferns were unable to retain the ball, with 50 passes going astray in the first 20 minutes alone.
New Zealand were a win away from reaching the knockout stages, but that didn't seem apparent watching the match.
Without invoking too many clichés, where was the blood and thunder, the desperation to leave everything on the pitch?
Former Fern and Sky Television pundit Maia Jackman summed up the frustration of many watching after a listless first 45 minutes when she said: "What does this group want to be remembered for?"
It was only after Cameroon opened the scoring midway through the second half that the Ferns seemed to lift their intensity, but even then, they lacked any cutting edge in the final third.
Physical conditioning seemed a problem. Any New Zealand side, at any level, should be at least as fit as their opponents but that wasn't the case. There was little creativity and even basic skills, such as passing accurately, were a struggle.
And as coach Tom Sermanni alluded to after the Canada game, New Zealand lacked the capability to win the ball across the park.
If output is a product of environment, something is surely not quite right in the Ferns camp. Maybe too many players have been there too long. It doesn't look like a dressing room where hard questions are asked of each other, or tough conversations are had.
It was certainly hard to reconcile the spirit, courage and bravery shown by the under-17 women's team in claiming the bronze medal at their World Cup late last year with what we saw from the seniors.
Sermanni wasn't entirely blameless. His preference for Sarah Gregorius was hard to understand, as was the exclusion of Katie Rood, and the midfield mix never came together. But he deserves a grace period, given the timing of his appointment and the circumstances that preceded it.
He has some tough decisions to make ahead of the Tokyo Olympics — a year away — but there is no doubt some changes in personnel will be needed.