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Interview: Nick Buller "over the moon" with GB water polo performance

Team GB's water polo coach Nick Buller tells Sports Mole that he is "over the moon" with his girls' performance in their loss to tournament favourites Hungary.

GB water polo coach Nick Buller has told Sports Mole that he is "over the moon" with how his team played in their loss to Hungary this afternoon.

The side had a strong first half, going into the break just 7-4 down to the Hungarian side - one of the tournament favourites - but failed to find the net thereafter to eventually lose out by a 16-4 scoreline.

Moments after the match, Sports Mole spoke to Buller to get his reaction and preview tomorrow's classification game against Group B basement side Serbia.

Hi Nick, what are your thoughts on how the game went?

"Hungary is the mecca of water polo, basically. It's an amazing place, water polo is at the top over there - their men's team have won at the Olympics three times in a row up until 2012. We knew it was going to be really tough. In the past for example, our national senior team played the senior team of Hungary two years before the Olympics and they lost 25-4. That sort of reflects the difference we can expect when we normally play Hungary. They've been full-time professionals for a number of years as well. So for our girls to go to 7-4 at half time is absolutely amazing. We're over the moon with that.

"Of course this wasn't our final, we've got a big game tomorrow against Serbia. So I had to keep players fresh. I did lots of subbing in the second half and maybe that affected the continuity of the team. The priority wasn't getting the result today, it was preparing for tomorrow. But we're over the moon with the performance in the first two quarters."

You say you expected to lose but as far as the magnitude of the defeat went, did you have a goal difference target in mind?

"As I said, we're pleased that we're making inroads. The under-19 team, when they played the top teams last year, the best difference they managed was 19 goals. In our first game against Greece, it was 18 goals, in our second against the Netherlands it was 13, so a fantastic first two quarters here. We're going forwards, learning every single game and I'm really proud of their effort today."

There was one point in the second quarter where it was 5-4. Did you dare to dream at that point?

"I was aware that the strategy wasn't about winning that game today. We needed to keep people fresh for tomorrow. So I wasn't focused on that. But it can give confidence because there's a huge gulf between Hungarian water polo and British water polo. This is our girls' first step on their journey, and if they're getting results like this on their first step, then with more investment and more opportunity and they can really achieve something."

You mentioned the other day that these top teams are training twice a day whereas you can only train twice a week. Is a tournament like this in some ways bittersweet? On one hand you're losing, which isn't nice, but on the other you are getting the daily rhythm that you want.

"It inspires us. We lost 7-4 the first half, and we're saying if we can do that, let's find a way to get more training, more opportunities, because we can compete with them. There's a player from my club who played professionally in Hungary last year and she told me that the difference is unbelievable. Our girls have been prioritising their school exams, but over there, there was no way that the girls with exams could miss training. It's completely different, with the opportunities. But this will inspire us to believe in ourselves, to believe in this group of players and we'll go forward from here."

Looking ahead to Serbia tomorrow, what sort of a game can we expect?

"A really difficult game for us. Really difficult. They've got some outstanding shooters. They've got some big girls at centre-forward. It will be a very, very hard game."

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Team GB and Greece face off in the women's water polo prelim at the European Games in Baku on June 12, 2015
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Read more about Nick Buller Water Polo

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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