Liam Heath and Jon Schofield won silver for Great Britain in the K2 200m on the final day of canoe sprint's World Championships in Duisburg, Germany.
Russia's Olympic champions Yury Postrygay and Alexander Dyachenko added the world title as Heath and Schofield improved on bronze at London 2012.
"We feel like we're closing the gap to the Russians," 28-year-old Schofield told BBC Sport.
London 2012 gold medallist Ed McKeever was sixth in the men's K1 200m final.
"Coming in as Olympic champion, obviously you want to win - there's a lot of work to do over the winter now and I'll come back stronger for next year," said McKeever, 30.
"Maybe I'm not on my best form. I'm confident I can get back to the top."
Petter Ostrom took K1 200m gold for Sweden, beating Canada's Mark de Jonge by three-hundredths of a second. McKeever finished four-tenths of a second back.
Heath and Schofield added a second set of world silver medals to those they won in Hungary two years ago and have now been on the world or Olympic podium for four consecutive years - but insist they will one day find their way past the dominant Russians.
"We want to be world champions, but you can't be disappointed with the colour of a world championship medal," said Schofield.
"We just have to be fitter, faster, stronger, technically better. We'll have to have the full package to beat them but I think we're getting in their head space now - we're really challenging them. It's game on."
Heath, 29, said: "We've made a bit of progress this year.
"Since the Europeans, where we came fourth, we've been working a lot on the last stage of our race. We held onto the speed of the boat very well in the last 50m."
Ed Rutherford won an unexpected bronze for Britain earlier on Sunday in the non-Olympic K1 5,000m race.
"I was aiming for top 10 so to get a medal is fantastic," Rutherford, 23, told BBC Sport.
"Now I know I can mix with the best guys in the world. Hopefully I can translate that to the [Olympic distance of] 1,000m."
Heath and Schofield both paid tribute to team-mate Rutherford's performance over the longest distance contested at the Worlds.
"Ed's medal is going to be the real one that inspires people and stirs it all up - it's a new discipline for us to get a medal in and it shows it's achievable," said Schofield.
Heath added: "I was really lifted to see Ed coming in third. He put in a massive effort around that 5,000m - that really lifted me up before I got in the water."
Hannah Brown and Jessica Walker finished seventh in the final of the women's K2 200m, another event not currently on the Olympic programme.