The Great Britain men's water polo team took some positives from a competitive first half in what eventually proved to be a heavy defeat at the hands of Serbia.
Team GB took the lead in the second quarter against the European champions and Beijing bronze medallists, but they ran out of steam and eventually lost 21-7.
Centre-forward Adam Scholefield, 27, from Leeds, scored first for the home side, and said the team enjoyed pulling ahead, albeit briefly.
"We were really pleased to be winning," he said. "But they were a class outfit, and probably favourites for the tournament.
"Their class just showed in the end, they just ran away with it."
Great Britain have now lost their two opening matches of the tournament, but Scholefield believes the team performed better than their previous game.
"It was definitely a step up during the first half from the Romania game," he said.
"The finishing was way better, which is what we lacked against Romania.
"But then we just ran out of steam. They just kept coming at us. It was going to happen over quarters.
"We're pleased that when we're at our best we can come close to these guys, which is what we're trying to show we can do."
Captain Craig Figes said: "I'm overjoyed with the first-half performance.
"It's really easy to motivate yourself when you're playing the best team in the world, and over the last couple of months they've proved themselves to be favourites for this gold medal.
"They are a fantastic team with fantastic individual players, and we managed to get in and really give them a hard time in the first half."
The 33-year-old from Bristol said top-class teams are ruthless.
"When you get tired and make the smallest mistakes against these guys, they punish you," he said.
Asked how Team GB managed to stun them and take the lead in the second quarter, he said: "We caught them sleeping a bit.
"I don't think they expected us to play at that intensity.
"The crowd were fantastic.
"The second half we did make mistakes. We're honest and big enough to accept that.
"We were put under pressure by probably the best team in the world and we made some mistakes and they punished us for it."
Head coach Cristian Iordache added: "In the first quarter we played at the same level as the European champions.
"The boys did very well."