NCV United coach Corey Scoble couldn't have been more proud of his squad after they fought bravely against the odds at the Sydney International Cup.
The team - comprising players from across North Central Victoria - battled to four draws and a loss in the under-16 division of the elite junior tournament.
United only missed out on a semi-finals by a point.
Needing victory in their final match, United took the lead from a skilful free kick by Sam Scoble in the second half.
United controlled the tempo as they tried to cling onto victory, but Fairfield Patrician Brothers won a free kick on the 18-yard box in the dying minutes and converted to draw the contest.
"It was probably just that level that the boys had never played in before, we got caught out a little bit - you could bring four over-age players but we didn't do that," coach Corey Scoble said.
"It was very physical and very quick, but the boys played unbelievable.
"To draw with Fiji (1-1) was a great result considering we were 1-0 down. Devonport (3-1) were just a little bit too big for us.
"All the teams were really good, all the teams beat each other.
"The boys were devastated (to draw against Fairfield), but they learnt heaps and just got praise for the way we played up there as well."
NCV United was invited to the cup after winning the Kanga Cup in July.
The tournament was played at Sydney FC's training facilities and the United players had the chance to meet some of the Sky Blues' players - including Alessandro Del Piero.