In three bruising, battling performances against France, Denmark and Peru, Mark Milligan has epitomised the defensive hard-man for the Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
Milligan has starred at the heart of defence throughout Australia's Group C campaign alongside central partner Trent Sainsbury, with the pair mounting a platform for the Socceroos to nullify some of world football's most prized attacking talent.
Combining backs-to-the-wall grit with his usual elegance on the ball, the 32-year-old was a crucial part in negating the considerable firepower of the Socceroos' Group C opponents, but also proved a pivotal cog in generating sequences of possession for Bert van Marwijk's side.
Australia's 2-0 defeat to Peru overnight spelled the end of the tournament dream for the Socceroos and Milligan, who had made his fourth FIFA World Cup™ appearance.
But that all paled away into triviality post-match as Australia's warrior shared a moment pitch side with his three daughters.
Milligan said it was difficult to put a finger on where the Socceroos went wrong against Peru as he lamented Australia's tournament exit post match.
"It’s hard to say... it’s just disappointing," Milligan told Optus Sport.
"We worked so hard and I really thought we’d give this a shake and to see the scoreline, 2-0, at the end of that is a bit gut wrenching."
The 32-year-old is due to return to club side Al-Ahli Jeddah for the Saudi outfit's pre-season preparations in the coming weeks.
But that will be pushed to one side as he looks forward to reuniting with family after a gruelling tournament.