Great Britain's men ended their World League campaign with an encouraging performance despite losing 11-9 to Russia at the Manchester Aquatics Centre on Wednesday.
Team GB were crushed 14-1 by world champions Italy two weeks ago but regained some pride by refusing to be overawed by a strong Russian team.
Captain Craig Figes opened the scoring within two minutes and although Russia recovered to never allow Great Britain in front again, they were unable to open up a commanding lead themselves.
The scores were level after the first two periods and it took a flurry of late Russian goals to finally seal the victory.
Team GB have lost all four of their group matches but coach Cristian Iordache believes his side are improving with London 2012 approaching.
"This was a benchmark match for us," he said. "It is good that we are close but the players and I are still disappointed we didn't take the win.
"We did make mistakes and we will learn from them tomorrow and look to further improve in the next few months.
"We played much better here than we did in Russia; it was a good game and we'll do everything we can in our preparations for the Olympics in London."