England were left shell-shocked and heartbroken after seeing victory slip from their grasp in an epic World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley.
Steve McNamara’s men looked to have done enough to dethrone the world champions after coming from 14-8 down to lead 18-14 with a 67th-minute try from man of the match Sam Burgess.
They were still ahead with just 21 seconds left on the clock but the Kiwis had the last say when scrum-half Shaun Johnson scored with the last play of the match that levelled the scores.
Johnson then kept his nerve to kick the non-too-difficult conversion, his fourth goal of the game, to seal a 20-18 victory and put New Zealand into a third consecutive final at Old Trafford next Saturday and leave England still waiting to add to their 1972 triumph.
Twenty-year-old wing sensation Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had earlier scored two tries, taking his total for the tournament to eight, while tries from Sean O’Loughlin and Kallum Watkins had kept England firmly in contention.
It was the third consecutive time that England have been thwarted by the Kiwis but they could not have done any more to end their 18-year wait to reach the final.