2nd December 2017, 12:02 | world_cup

England beaten in tense World Cup final

England beaten in tense World Cup final

England fell agonisingly short in their attempt to end a generation's wait for glory as Australia ground out a tense 6-0 victory in the World Cup final.

The Kangaroos were forced to defend for their lives in an epic battle of Brisbane before securing their 11th title out of a possible 15, winning the World Cup on home soil for the first time since 1977 in front of a crowd of 40,033 at the Suncorp Stadium. 

It rounded off a second year unbeaten under coach Mal Meninga but it might have been very different but for an ankle tap on Kallum Watkins when he looked all set to score an equalising try 16 minutes from the end.

The only try was the result of Australia's ability to mount pressure through back-to-back penalties and a goal-line drop-out, with Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Michael Morgan combining sweetly to get second rower Boyd Cordner charging over after 14 minutes.

England coach Wayne Bennett paid tribute to his players.

He said: "I'm really proud of them. I thought the game was somewhere around State of Origin standard. They were exhausted but still found another effort.

"They were wonderful and it's a pity there has to be a loser. Nobody really loses, the scoreboard says they do but the effort and intensity from both teams was outstanding. That's what makes sport great, someone has got to win, someone has got to lose."

Australia captain Smith said: "A lot of the boys said it was the toughest game they've played. For me, because I've been playing for a long time, it's among the top three or top five matches, Origin included.

"It was played at such great intensity, like going back to the old Test matches I watched when I was a young fella, a very physical game where you had to fight tooth and nail for every metre. I've got to give England a huge rap. They were fantastic."