Netball World Cup 2019: Silver Ferns beat England to reach final

The Silver Ferns have booked a place in the Netball World Cup final with Australia after edging hosts England 47-45 in a dramatic encounter in Liverpool.

On Sunday (NZ time), Noeline Taurua's side overcame a three-goal halftime deficit to lead by three heading into the final quarter.  

The deficit proved too tough to breach for Tracey Neville's Commonwealth Games champions, who now face South Africa in the third-place playoff.

The warning signs were there early on as Maria Folau gave New Zealand a 5-0 lead inside the first four minutes.

England recovered to haul back the deficit but still faced a big task as they trailed 12-9 at the end of the first. 

Nerves continued to be in evident for England who slipped six points behind midway through the second quarter, forcing Neville to make changes. 

She switched the respective roles of Helen Housby and the misfiring Jo Harten and introduced Natalie Haythornthwaite in place of Chelsea Pitman.

England players react to losing in the Netball World Cup semi-finals.
England players react to losing in the Netball World Cup semi-finals. Photo credit: AAP

The move made a dramatic difference as Housby hauled England level before Harten belatedly rediscovered her form to shoot her team 24-21 in front with a quick-fire triple before the break.

England struggled to sustain their momentum, with the accuracy of Folau and Amelianne Ekenasio dragging the Ferns back level in a match which showed all the signs of going down to the wire.

Looking more composed, the Silver Ferns edged two points clear before a rare mistake by England captain Serna Guthrie enabled Ekenasio to stretch the Silver Ferns' lead to three.

After a quarter they will want to forget, England faced going into the final 15 minutes needing to make up a 36-33 deficit in order to keep their World Cup dream alive.   

They fell further behind before a crucial interception from Harten helped haul the deficit back to two as the game moved deeper into the final quarter.

But the superbly-poised Ekenasio was showing no signs of the raucous home crowd getting to her as she continued her flawless scoring record to put the Kiwis five points clear with seven minutes to go.

Despite again reeling in their opponents to a two-point gap heading into the final minute, the visitors hung on for a 47-45 win which means England's long wait for a place in a World Cup final goes on, while the Ferns will play Australia in the gold medal match for the sixth straight time.

AAP

Join us at 3:30am Monday for live updates of the Netball World Cup final between the Silver Ferns and Australia

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