Their opponents are still technically battling for one of those semi-final spots, but for South Africa the post-mortem has already begun. How did two years of intense planning, which featured serious blooding of hopefuls and all manner of contingencies, including letting David Miller keep for a few games in case Quinton de Kock got injured - how did all that manifest in this train wreck of a campaign?

And what does it mean now that the dream is dead? What happens to the coaches and senior players? South Africa had had success in ODIs in the past year, winning five successive bilateral series, but does that mean anything without a half-decent World Cup to show for it?

Head coach Ottis Gibson's contract runs to September. Who deserves to stay as they attempt to build for the next cycle?

"It's a bit tough for all of us - we haven't performed as well as we would have liked and we have to suffer the consequences of that," assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa said ahead of the match in Durham against Sri Lanka. "We are willing to take responsibility, but hopefully we will be judged on more than what we have done here. A lot of good work was done before. Hopefully that counts for something.

"If heads do roll then we can look back and say we've given it our best shot. We came here to win and it hasn't happened. We want to make sure we leave Cricket South Africa in a better place than when we took over. It might not look like it now, but we think we have contributed."

Although coaching staff are clearly thinking about their jobs right now, there are still two games to play before South Africa return home to face consequences. For the likes of Imran Tahir and JP Duminy, who had announced their ODI retirements before the tournament, the games against Sri Lanka and Australia are a chance to bid farewell on at least a mildly pleasant note. The remainder are attempting to salvage pride and stem negativity.

Senior players - Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis in particular - may find themselves under the microscope when the tournament ends regardless of what happens in these games. But two wins, perhaps, would temper the scrutiny a little.

"What's left to play for is really ourselves," Maketa said. "We've dedicated the last two years to coming here and win the tournament. We can't let two weeks' work reflect badly on us. We need to make sure we really finish strong. As much as we're playing for millions of people back home. We need to make sure we walk away from this World Cup and justify why we're here.

"The way we see ourselves representing our country, we want to make sure that we finish off on a high. We've got a few players who are finishing after this World Cup. Two victories here will go a long way, rather than just one victory. That will be our legacy of the World Cup, and we don't want to let ourselves down."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf