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Result: England's World Cup hopes over after semi-final defeat to New Zealand

Maria Folau and co too good in Liverpool.

England's Netball World Cup dreams were dashed in Liverpool as New Zealand won a dramatic last four clash 47-45 to book a place in Sunday's final against Australia.

Tracey Neville's team clawed back from a nightmare start to lead 24-21 at half-time but a disastrous third quarter gave their opponents a three-point lead going into the last.

The deficit proved too tough to breach for an England team who must now somehow recover for Sunday's third-place play-off against South Africa.

Helen Housby tried to lead England through
Helen Housby tried to lead England through (Nigel French/PA)

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

Folau, who had been booed during the pre-game introductions after recently defending her husband Israel's controversial religious beliefs, scored four from four to get the Silver Ferns off to a flying start.

After showing some nerves in front of goal, 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, Neville to make changes.

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

Housby and her team-mates found New Zealand hard to break
Housby and her team-mates found New Zealand hard to break (Nigel French/PA)

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 New Zealand 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 New Zealand's lead to three.

New Zealand's Maria Folau (left) was excellent
New Zealand's Maria Folau (left) was excellent (Nigel French/PA)

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 New Zealand five points clear with seven minutes to go.

Despite again reeling in their opponents to a two-point gap heading into the final minute, New Zealand hung on for a 47-45 win which means England's long wait for a place in a World Cup final goes on.

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Tracey Neville pictured in 2015
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina1891138
JapanJapan174627
United StatesUnited States14161141
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10141034
AustraliaAustralia921122
Great BritainGreat Britain69924
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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