Beat New Zealand and the Rugby World Cup is yours, right?
Sadly, this was not the case for England, who were unable to find one more brilliant performance after playing the perfect games against the All Blacks in the semi-finals.
Eddie Jones’ men were effectively stifled by South Africa in the final on Saturday, with the Springboks running out 32-12 winners in Yokohama.
It’s a repeat of the heartache England suffered in the 2007 final which saw South Africa win 15-6 in France.
That result was perhaps not that surprising given England were swept aside by South Africa in the pool stage earlier in the competition, losing 36-0.
But things were supposed to be different this time around, with England backed to lift the Webb Ellis Cup by the bookies before the match.
There’s no doubting England were in superb form and were brilliant against New Zealand, who are always the favourites to win the World Cup pre-tournament.
However, form went out the window once the match began and then South Africa were deserved winners as they were much better on the day.
The result sees England as the latest side to fall foul of a wretched World Cup curse.
The last four times New Zealand have been knocked out of a World Cup, the team that has beaten them has lost their next match and thus failed to win the tournament.
talkSPORT.com has taken a look at the other three occasions where teams have been victim of the New Zealand curse.
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2007 – France
What makes England’s win all the more brilliant is the fact that the All Blacks’ previous defeat at a World Cup came in 2007.
Host nation France were their surprise conquerors in the quarter-finals, although the game was played at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
New Zealand looked pretty unbeatable in the pool stage but Les Bleus excellently pulled a 20-18 victory out the bag.
France’s next two games would then be on home turf with their semi-final against a fairly average England side.
But this time it was England who pulled a surprise out the bag with a stunning 14-9 win at the Stade de France in a game where Jonny Wilkinson scored an excellent drop goal.
2003 – Australia
Another host nation to blow it on home soil was Australia in 2003 after seemingly doing all the hard work by beating New Zealand in the semi-finals.
The Wallabies, whose head coach was now England boss Jones, beat the All Blacks 22-10 to set up a final with England.
And we all know what happened next – England won the World Cup for the first time ever with a gripping victory in Sydney.
Jason Robinson cancelled out Lote Tuqiri’s try and it became a kicking game from then on.
And in the final seconds of extra-time, Wilkinson kicked THAT famous drop goal with his right foot to give Sir Clive Woodward’s side the dramatic 20-17 win.
1999 – France
2007 wasn’t the only time the French fell victim of the New Zealand curse.
Eight years earlier, France produced a brilliant performance at Twickenham to beat the All Blacks 43-31.
They met Australia in the final at the Millennium Stadium but could not produce similar heroics, losing 35-12.
Australia are the only team in the history of the World Cup to win the competition off the back of beating New Zealand earlier in the tournament, which they achieved in 1991.
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