Commonwealth champions England began badly, going 5-0 down, and despite deafening home support helping them into a narrow halfway lead, the Silver Ferns were more clinical.
“I can’t put into words what just happened,” said NZ attacker Maria Folau, a constant thorn in England’s side.
“The discipline was there and it was all about keeping to our structure and processes. When players needed to stand up, all seven stood up. We didn’t get caught chasing.”
It was a bitter disappointment for England coach Tracey Neville, whose brother Phil recently suffered a similar fate as coach of England’s women’s football team that lost in the World Cup semi-final to the United States.
“I think New Zealand came out really strong and we didn’t learn our lessons quick enough and we ended up chasing the game which we have not done all tournament,” a deflated Neville said.
“But that was a class performance by New Zealand. We made some basic errors. They did a great job on us.”
Victory did not come easily for top-ranked Australia who surged to an eight-goal lead at halftime but had to stave off a determined comeback by the Proteas in the last two quarters.
“It’s amazing. It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win. We go again and we’re so excited,” said player-of-the-match Liz Watson.
“I think it came down to heart and passion. We kept getting back into it… we are so pumped. We’ll go and watch the game later. Whoever we play will be a great match.”
The final takes place on Sunday, while England face South Africa for the bronze medal.
Lying in bed at 3.30am wide awake, blood still pulsating through my body, legs jerking and hands shaking feverishly post the netball World Cup Grand Final match. You can only imagine how the players and coaching teams from both sides felt post match after a thrilling Netball World Cup final.
The Australian Diamonds Netball World Cup campaign will go up a gear as they take on New Zealand in their final group game. This is The Roar’s guide to live streaming the match online, or watching it on TV.
The Australian Diamonds will be out to continue their winning start to a Netball World Cup title defence when they take on Zimbabwe in their second match. This is The Roar’s guide to live streaming the match online, or watching it on TV.