England missed out on the Netball World Cup final once again as they fell to an agonising 47-45 defeat by New Zealand in Liverpool/By Denise Evans, BBC Sport in Liverpool
New Zealand go on to face holders Australia in Sunday’s final for a sixth consecutive tournament.
England have now lost eight straight World Cup semi-finals and face South Africa in the bronze-medal match.
They will match their achievements from 2015 if they beat the Proteas, who were narrowly beaten by Australia in the opening semi-final.
Tracey Neville’s Roses famously fought back to snatch a late win in the gold-medal match against the Diamonds at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
But this time they were on the receiving end of the disappointment.
New Zealand showed their intent by surging into a 5-0 lead as England panicked, but the Roses regrouped to take a three-goal lead into half-time.
Until this match, England had not come from behind in the tournament and as the Silver Ferns pushed back in front, they looked intent on staying there.
England threw everything at the Kiwis in the final quarter – but their opposition soaked up the pressure and played down the seconds left on the clock.
What went wrong for England?
England did not look like the confident team who came through the group stages without losing a quarter.
Shooter Jo Harten’s form dropped dramatically in the first half, compared to her heroics in the previous game against South Africa, and she only improved when she moved to goal attack.
England’s engine room and captain Serena Guthrie was also guilty of failing to bring the goods on the day.
Head coach Neville said her side’s “basic errors” cost them the game.
“New Zealand came out really strong in that first quarter, “she said. “We didn’t learn our lessons quickly enough. We seemed to be chasing the game, which is something we haven’t done in this tournament.
“We gave it our all but didn’t have the legs. This tournament is quite brutal. We’ve got another game tomorrow and we go again.”
‘We’ve already won in some respects’
It was a rocky road to this final for New Zealand. They failed to reach the Commonwealth finals in 2018 for the first time and dropped to fourth in the rankings, one place behind England.
Off the court, key player Laura Langman, who has made more than 100 international appearances, was out of the set-up for 18 months because she chose to play her club netball in Australia.
But the arrival of coach Noeline Taurua in 2018 led to those club rules being relaxed and now Langman, along with veteran defender Casey Kopua, will get a shot at gold again in what is likely to be their last World Cup.
“I’m a bit lost for words,” said Taurua. “We’ve got one more game to go to get the gold and that’s what we’re going for.
“We’ve already won in some respects. We were underdogs coming into this game. There’s nothing else for us to worry about.”
New Zealand came close to beating the Diamonds in the preliminary stages and this victory over the hosts will surely give them the belief they need to beat their long-time rivals.
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.