Van Commenee not surprised
UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee admitted he saw Britain's "flat" performance in Helsinki coming.
Jo Pavey claimed silver in the 10,000 metres at the age of 38, while the men's 4x400m relay team also took silver in Helsinki after being overhauled by Belgium in the home straight.
However, the day after Britain's women failed to secure a place at their home Olympics in the 4x100m relay, the men's quartet failed to finish their final after the experienced duo of Christian Malcolm and Dwain Chambers did not exchange the baton following the first leg.
That meant a total of seven medals - three gold, three silver and one bronze - in comparison to the record 19 achieved in Barcelona two years ago, but Van Commenee knew that would be the case with most of the star names missing after securing their Olympic places at the trials last weekend.
"I got confirmation for what I thought was going to happen, a lot of British athletes were very flat here," Van Commenee said after Britain finished sixth in the medal table behind Germany, Russia, France, Ukraine and Turkey.
"I could see this coming. I decided a year ago to put a selection policy in place keep our best athletes out with the exception of a few for whom I thought it would be helpful.
"It was too much to do rounds at the weekend (at the trials) and again five or six days later. I'm relatively happy that we return home with our best athletes undamaged."
The same could not be said for Britain's reputation in the relays, with tonight's failure the latest in a long line which includes dropped batons at the Olympics in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) and the World Championships in Edmonton (2001), along with a disqualification at the last Olympics in Beijing and the World Championships in Daegu (2011).
They also went out in the first round at the last European Championships in Barcelona when a poor changeover between Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis saw them finish fifth in their heat.
This time the baton never even got that far as Malcolm lost momentum around the bend and was unable to get it to Chambers, who was anxious to get a good start with France's individual 100m champion Christophe Lemaitre on his outside.
"I will take responsibility," Malcolm said. "I lost momentum and it's my job to get the baton into Dwain and I didn't get it done.
"It was an opportunity for us all and we have messed up.
"We thought we were going to win and we were all up for it today. It's nothing to do with a lack of practice, it's just one of those things. I know we like to play the blame game in our country and I will take responsibility.
"No doubt we'll get slaughtered in the press for it but it's not for want of trying."
Earlier in the night, Pavey was unable to stay with eventual champion Dulce Felix of Portugal when she made the decisive break with eight laps to go, and found herself third at the bell behind Ukraine's Olha Skrypak.
But the veteran Devon athlete overtook Skrypak in the home straight to secure silver in 31 minutes 49.03 seconds, with Ireland's Fionnuala Britton in fourth. Pavey's team-mate Charlotte Purdue was sixth in 32mins 28.46secs, with Gemma Steel ninth in 32:46.32.
Pavey only returned to track action after her Olympic marathon gamble backfired in April.
She opted to miss the London Marathon and hope that her time from last year's race was enough to claim the last available place alongside Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi, but watched on TV as both Claire Hallissey and Freya Murray eclipsed her time, with Hallissey subsequently selected.
"It's been a real blessing in disguise," said Pavey, who is likely to run both the 5,000 and 10,000m at the Olympics.
"I would have taken a marathon place if I was given it because it would have been a massive gamble not to accept it.
"It was kind of nice not have any choice and it's made me feel young. I'm really thrilled to get a medal. Doing track this year after two years on the road has been really fun."
The men's relay quartet looked on course for gold after Nigel Levine, Conrad Williams and Rob Tobin combined to give Richard Buck a healthy lead, but he was overhauled on the final leg by Belgium's Kevin Borlee, the individual champion from two years ago.
There were also near misses in the women's 4x400m relay, where Britain were fourth after anchor runner Eilidh Child was blocked just short of the line by Czech Denisa Rosolova, and the men's long jump, where JJ Jegede was also fourth.
Jegede needed a distance of 8.20m to secure his Olympic place, but had to settle for a wind-assisted 8.10m, seven centimetres behind bronze medallist Michel Torneus of Sweden.
Sophie Hitchon finished a disappointing 11th in the hammer final, while Gianni Frankis and William Sharman failed to reach the 110m hurdles final.