Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell admits Monday's defeat to Germany was a harsh lesson in the 'fine margins' which exist when competing with the top nations.
Michael O'Neill's men had two great opportunities to take the lead before Marcel Halstenberg's stunning opener on 48 minutes.
Peacock-Farrell knows it could well have been a very different encounter had either or both of those hit the back of Manuel Neuer's net.
However, the Burnley stopper hopes it stands them in good stead for the return tie with Germany and the two games against the Netherlands still to come.
"Coming off the pitch on Monday night, we have obviously all had the experience of being involved in a game like that," he said. "It's fine margins at the end of the day which makes the difference and means you're on either end of the result.
"We feel like it was an opportunity missed. We had the opening chances in the game and we feel that if we had taken those then it's a completely different game.
"If we do that, then they're on the back foot and they're the ones sweating on it, instead of going in even at half-time.
"It's why they're so good as a nation, they take their chances and we weren't able to.
"(Manuel) Neuer makes a great save early on and keeps them in the game."
Peacock-Farrell's own performance was singled out by boss O'Neill after he made a number of fine saves to keep the hosts in the game.
However, Peacock-Farrell was less forthcoming when asked if he was happy with his performance.
"Relatively," was his modest assessment.
"I had a bit to do and I knew I would. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up for what happened with the first goal, and acknowledge there is little you can do about it.
"My personal performance is irrelevant really when we've lost the game."
Now back at Burnley, Peacock-Farrell is in a three-way battle for the No.1 shirt against Nick Pope and former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
He knows it will be a big task, but hopes his Northern Ireland performances over this past week will boost his standing back at Turf Moor.
"Hopefully it answers a question, because it's a huge game I've been involved in now," he said. "It's something that I relish, playing against these big nations.
"Going back to club football, there are still two top goalkeepers in front of me.
"For the gaffer back at home to see my performance, hopefully I've done enough to please him."
All three goalkeepers in O'Neill's national squad are down the pecking order at their respective clubs, but Peacock-Farrell is hoping it is a situation which will change sooner rather than later.
"We're all not in a great position in terms of minutes at club level," he said of himself, Michael McGovern and Trevor Carson.
"Having come away on this international break, I've really appreciated being able to play as much as I have. I also appreciate the support and belief of the manager to play those minutes.
"Speaking on behalf of all three (goalkeepers), hopefully the situation (of a lack of minutes at club level) isn't a long-term thing."