Last Updated: August 5, 2012 6:29pm
Great Britain winger Kelsi Fairbrother fires in a shot
Great Britain women's Olympic dream ended in a 37-14 defeat to Croatia, bringing to a close a six-year journey.
Losses in their opening four matches meant they came into the game knowing they had no chance of progressing to the knock-out phase and while the heavy reverse ensured they were whitewashed in the tournament, they can still leave the Copper Box for the last time with their heads held high.
Having only formed in 2006, to be even taking part in the Games was an achievement in itself and was due to significant personal sacrifices being made from virtually every player, which included living away from husbands, leaving jobs and selling houses.
But as their involvement in London 2012 comes to an end, they know they have more than played their part in introducing handball to the British public for the first time and are certain to leave a lasting legacy long after the Olympic flame departs the capital.
With the future of the side currently in limbo with the disbanding of a centralised programme, several experienced players calling it a day and British Handball waiting on news of post-Games funding, this afternoon represents the end of an era and many of the players were visibly upset after the game.
Some of the tears were probably induced from the fact that they will not be able to experience the superb Copper Box atmosphere again, and in the wake of last night's incredible scenes at the Olympic Stadium the women were desperate to spread the feelgood factor in front of a buoyant crowd.
But they came up against a tough Croatia side who had won three of their opening four games, though they were not out-played in the opening five minutes with goals from Louise Jukes and birthday girl Kelsi Fairbrother keeping it to 3-2 after five minutes.
Another Jukes effort and a Marie Gerbron penalty kept that deficit to one approaching the midway point of the first half as Team GB were enjoying their most competitive spell of the Games and Gerbron, Fairbrother and Britt Goodwin all missed other chances.
However, Croatia asserted their authority and threw in six successive goals to lead 20-15 after 20 minutes, though the partisan crowd in the Copper Box did not care too much as they raised the roof when they were informed of Andy Murray's gold medal in the tennis.
That became a punishing 12 unanswered strikes, which blew Team GB away, but that run was eventually ended by Holly Lam-Moore's goal which left them trailing 17-6 at the half-time interval.
With nothing left to play for other than pride, the host nation were able to come out and soak up the atmosphere for the last time after the break and got to play in front of royalty as the Duchess of Cambridge took her seat for the second half.
While goals were flying in at the other end, the Duchess was able to cheer efforts from Gerbron and a delightful lob from Zoe van der Weel, while retiring skipper Lynn McCafferty opened her account.
By the end the scoreboard made very ugly reading for the hosts as Croatia laid down their marker for the next phase of the competition, though Ewa Palies and Fairbrother strikes raised the roof in the final 10 minutes.
Team GB were never going to be medal contenders in this competition, having just six years of experience under their belts, but despite their heaviest defeat of the Games they left the court to a reception worthy of gold medal winners, which somehow seemed a fitting reward for their efforts getting here.
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
A week into the Games of the XXX Olympiad, Richard Moore brings us his half-way highs and lows
Linford Christie sprinted to 100m gold for Britain at an Olympic Games best remembered for America's basketball dream team.