Rugby League World Cup semi-finals - as it happened

Australia and New Zealand will contest the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final after defeating Fiji and England at Wembley.

23 November 2013 Last updated at 12:00

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As it happened

  1. 1739: 

    And now only one match remains at the 2013 World Cup. Our search to find the best rugby league team on the planet is almost at an end.

    Australia v New Zealand was the final that many had predicted, and at Old Trafford in seven days' time, that is what we will have. Should be a cracker.

    Thanks for your company today. I had hoped to bring you news of how the co-hosts had booked their first appearance in a World Cup final for 18 years. Sport has proved, yet again, that she can be a cruel mistress. Especially if you're an England fan.

  2. 1735: 

    So two very differing semi-finals. New Zealand's last-gasp victory over England had everything. Australia's demolition of Fiji was slightly less dramatic.

    You can watch highlights of both games on BBC Two on Sunday at 16:00 GMT.

  3. 1732: 

    Fiji coach Rick Stone: "It was a disappointing way to finish the tournament and we couldn't match the Aussies in the skill and power, but we had a good tournament overall.

    "We competed pretty well against England and Australia at times and we need to look at where we can compete more against them.

    "We have come a long way since the last World Cup in 2008 and hopefully we can take some bigger steps now.

    "Petero Civoniceva [who is retiring from rugby league] has been a legend of the game, especially in Australia, and it has been a pleasure to work with him. He has great humility and is a tremendous leader.

  4. 1728: 

    Australia coach Tim Sheens: "It was a tougher game than most people would think looking at the scoreline and we have plenty of bruises. We went out to defend well and we did.

    "We were embarrassed in the first game against England [in the first game of the tournament] and it will be a big ask next week against New Zealand.

    "We have a week to get ready and we will be right. We need to check medically and to see if Billy Slater is available, so a bit of work to do."

    Tulsen Tollett, Former Super League star and BBC Sport expert

    "So Australia have now scored 150 points against Fiji in their last 3 matches played & conceded...2. 2 of those games were WC semis."

  6. 1726: 
    Johnathan Thurston

    Australia half-back and man-of-the-match winner Johnathan Thurston: "We've had a lot of pride in our defence over the last few weeks. We've been concentrating on our defence, Fiji threw a lot at us and we held out.

    "We know the Kiwis will be tough to play against [in the final]. We'll give it our best shot."

  7. 1725: 

    The two teams, having battered each other for 80 minutes, are now united in prayer in the centre of the Wembley field. Unbelievable scenes.

  8. 80 mins: 
    FULL-TIME- Australia 64-0 Fiji

    It's all over at Wembley. Australia win convincingly, and it will be the Kangaroos who take on New Zealand in next week's final at Old Trafford.

    George Riley, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "What a job Australia have done on Fiji today. We thought it would be a possibility in the early stages, and they have executed ruthlessly here at Wembley."

  10. 78 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 64-0 Fiji - Andrew Fifita (Johnathan Thurston con)

    Utterly ruthless from Australia as Andrew Fifita powerfully adds try number 11 for the Kangaroos. Fiji's misery is almost over, as Johnathan Thurston makes it 10 successful kicks from 11.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Australian fans know, if Billy Slater doesn't make the game next week for the final, it is cruel to call Greg Inglis an 'able deputy'."

  12. 76 mins: 
    Australia 58-0 Fiji

    Greg Inglis wages a one-man war on Fiji and almost wins. When he is brought down, Brent Tate knocks on and the chance goes begging. Inglis is a colossus.

  13. 75 mins: 
    Australia 58-0 Fiji

    Five minutes of the game to go, and five minutes remaining in the wonderful career of Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva. The 37-year-old prop, who won 45 caps for Australia before representing the country of his birth at this tournament, is retiring at the end of the World Cup.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "I think Johnathan Thurston could backheel them over at the moment."

  15. 72 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 58-0 Fiji - Brett Morris (Johnathan Thurston con)

    After a decent Fiji move on the left touchline breaks down, Australia go straight up to the other end and winger Brett Morris finally gets his name on the scoresheet. He just about manages to keep his foot above the ground and crosses for Australia's 10th try of the match. Another dream of a kick from Johnathan Thurston from the touchline, and the Kangaroos surpass the scoreline of their 52-0 semi-final win over Fiji in 2008.

  16. 72 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- Australia 52-0 Fiji

    Brett Morris is claiming it, but Richard Silverwood wants to check if his foot was in touch...

    Eorl Crabtree, England prop and BBC Sport expert

    "Come on Fiji - go and get a try!"

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "A well worked try. I wondered what Cameron Smith was doing at the start of the move, he ran backwards from his own 10 but the move was pre-planned. Jarryd Hayne has now bagged seven tries in two games."

  19. 68 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 52-0 Fiji - Jarryd Hayne (Johnathan Thurston con)

    That's a hat-trick for Jarryd Hayne and he is now the top try scorer at the 2013 World Cup. Far too easy for the centre, who glides through the defensive line and then barges past opposing full-back Kevin Naiqama to take Australia past 50 points.

  20. 66 mins: 
    NO TRY- Australia 46-0 Fiji

    Australia must wait before raising their bat to celebrate a half-century. Centre Brent Tate kicks forward and Fiji winger Akuila Uate is unable to gather cleanly, but then grounds the ball in his in-goal area. Fiji survive and are given a goal-line drop-out.

  21. 66 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- Australia 46-0 Fiji

    Have Australia passed 50 points?

  22. 64 mins: 
    Australia 46-0 Fiji

    Today's attendance at Wembley has been confirmed - 67,545.

  23. 63 mins: 
    Australia 46-0 Fiji

    Fiji are a proud nation and I had the privilege of telling their wonderful rugby league story at the start of this World Cup. They have matched their run to the last four from five years ago, but unfortunately for them, they are falling to a heavy defeat, just as they did in 2008.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Beautifully crafted, beautifully executed and Darius Boyd scorched in the last 10 metres to go over."

  25. 58 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 46-0 Fiji - Darius Boyd (Johnathan Thurston con)

    Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Brent Tate move the ball with great speed to Darius Boyd and the winger gets his second try of the afternoon. Thurston puts over another kick - he is certainly getting enough practice - to make it 46-0.

  26. 57 mins: 
    Australia 40-0 Fiji

    We were spoiled earlier this afternoon with the quality and tension on show in a nail-biting semi-final between England and New Zealand. Fair to say this game has not had quite the same excitement. Australia are proving just too good for Fiji. Daryl Millard's knock-on in the middle of the field typifies how things have gone for the Bati today.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Here is a word of warning to New Zealand - they use the inside ball with Billy Slater and they have used it tonight with Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne and now James Tamou, who had the pace and strength to score."

  28. 54 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 40-0 Fiji - James Tamou (Johnathan Thurston con)
    Australia v Fiji

    A tiring Fiji side were their own worst enemies there. They gave away a cheap penalty on their own line and could not keep out the Kangaroos in their third repeat set. Cooper Cronk passes for prop James Tamou to cross for a simple score.

  29. 51 mins: 
    Australia 34-0 Fiji

    Fiji earn a penalty 30 metres out and get within a few yards of the try line, but Kane Evans has the ball ripped from his grasp and Australia regain the ball.

  30. 47 mins: 
    Australia 34-0 Fiji

    Some scrambling Fiji defending under the high ball keeps Australia at bay. The Kangaroos get another set of six, and Johnathan Thurston knocks on. He is human.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Not conceding a try will be the pleasing aspect of the Australian performance so far. They haven't conceded a try since Josh Charnley went over for England in the opening match of the tournament."

  32. 44 mins: 
    Australia 34-0 Fiji

    No major action to speak of in the second period and Australia still in control.

    While the second half is in progress, why not head to the BBC Sport Facebook page? That's where you can find a photo gallery of today's World Cup semi-final double-header at Wembley.

  33. 40 mins: 
    KICK-OFF- Australia 34-0 Fiji

    The second half gets going with Australia in possession. How many more tries will they score?

  34. 1633: 

    Earlier, of course, there was heartbreak for England as Shaun Johnson's last-minute try sent New Zealand through to the World Cup final.

    Read Paul Fletcher's match report here.

    You can also watch highlights of New Zealand's dramatic victory at Wembley.

  35. 1631: 

    Australia have had 69% possession and 69% territory. They have made nine line breaks to the Fijians' one, and they have a tackle completion rate of 98%.

    That's why the Kangaroos lead 34-0 at half time.

  36. 1629: 

    Some first-half stats for you, and they don't make good reading if you're a Fiji fan...

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    Tool ma: Australia showing the rest of the world how to really play Rugby League! Insane first half.

    mike preece: Just can't see New Zealand beating this Australia side next week. Phenomenal side. Different gravy.

    Ryan Kirby: Australia are just too good at rugby league.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "From a professional point of view, Fiji have to disregard the scoreline and concentrate on getting back to approaching a performance. They are a talented bunch of players who have lit up the World Cup at times, especially in the first half against England. They have a lot of ability but are playing for nothing more than pride at the moment."

  39. 1624: 

    Fiji half-back Aaron Groom: "We knew it was going to be important to start well, but we haven't started at all yet."

    Australia captain Cameron Smith: "I'm very happy with our defence. We came into this game looking to minimise the number of points scored against us. We've put some balls to ground and we need to fine tune that in the second half."

  40. 40 mins: 
    HALF-TIME- Australia 34-0 Fiji
  41. 39 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 34-0 Fiji - Jarryd Hayne (Johnathan Thurston con)

    The respite did not last long. Fiji's Eloni Vunakece offloads to a green shirt and the ball is worked to Jarryd Hayne, who goes over for his second try of the game. He has eight tries in this World Cup, level with England's Ryan Hall and New Zealand's Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

  42. 38 mins: 
    Australia 28-0 Fiji

    A bit of complacency from Australia, and despite their huge advantage, coach Tim Sheens will be furious to see his side waste the chance to score another try. Darius Boyd easily breaks the line but, with many in support, they spill the ball.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "It would be fair to say the sting has gone out of the atmosphere somewhat here at Wembley. Plenty of people have stayed on but the fact the Mexican Wave is going round says everything. Lots of long, disappointed faces understandably from the England players as they left the stadium. As Ryan Hall noted, not many of them will get to sleep easily tonight."

    George Riley, BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "The man pressing the music button after tries is going to get a sore finger because Australia are keeping him busy."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Papalii can hit a hole. He was brought on this tour to blood him into the team. He has got a massive future ahead of him and has had a great season with Canberra."

  46. 35 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 28-0 Fiji - Josh Papalii (Johnathan Thurston con)
    Josh Papalii

    Spoke too soon. Somehow Cameron Smith fails to go over from dummy-half, but from the next play Josh Papalii bursts his way through to cross for a fifth Australia try. Safe to say we are in for a repeat of the 2008 final at Old Trafford next Saturday.

  47. 33 mins: 
    Australia 22-0 Fiji

    Although they are still to trouble the scorers, at least Fiji seem to have sorted out their defensive line. And Australia have spent much of the last five minutes defending rather than attacking, without ever really looking like conceding any points.

  48. 29 mins: 
    Australia 22-0 Fiji

    A nice break from centre Wes Naiqama makes some ground for the Fijians, but Aaron Groom's grubber kick goes dead and Australia's 22-point lead remains in tact.

  49. 26 mins: 
    Australia 22-0 Fiji

    Difficult to see how Fiji get back into this. They are looking for something to spark them into life but Australia are holding them at arm's length, quite literally in the case of Greg Inglis, who continues to swat away Bati tacklers every time he gathers the ball.

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "It is very disappointing from a neutral's point of view how Fiji have started this game - they have not threatened the Aussie try line at at all."

  51. 21 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 22-0 Fiji - Jarryd Hayne (Johnathan Thurston con)

    This is becoming a procession. The Australian spine of Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis combine fluidly to set up Jarryd Hayne - a former Fiji international - to power his way over. Another top kick from out wide from Thurston. Fiji look stunned.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "The Fijians have been good physically and some of them look more like Mr T than I do."

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Great try, great involvement from Cooper Cronk. A fantastic cross-field kick and he followed up his own kick for the grounding."

  54. 18 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 16-0 Fiji - Cooper Cronk (Johnathan Thurston con)
    Cooper Cronk

    Fiji fail to deal with another high kick and Jarryd Hayne's superb offload finds Cooper Cronk in an acre of space. Unless Fiji improve quickly, Australia can start thinking about avenging their final defeat by the Kiwis in 2008.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "That try goes down to the work of Greg Bird, attracting three defenders and then he gets lucky on the offload. Greg Inglis does the rest and also attracts the Fiji defence and frees Darius Boyd who has an easy job."

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "Fiji are coughing up possession too often and early in the tackle count too. That certainly would not have been the game plan for them. This semi-final could slip away from them before they are even in it."

  57. 15 mins: 
    TRY- Australia 10-0 Fiji - Darius Boyd
    Darius Boyd

    There was no knock-on in the build-up and winger Darius Boyd gets a free run to the line. Johnathan Thurston is unable to kick the extras from the touchline, but this semi-final beginning to look a little more one-sided than the first.

  58. 15 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- Australia 6-0 Fiji

    Try for Australia! Or is it? Has Darius Boyd gone in? Up it goes to the video referee Ben Thaler...

  59. 14 mins: 
    Australia 6-0 Fiji

    Fiji are taken 20 metres from the try line following a penalty, but they can't take advantage as former Aussie Petero Civoniceva coughs up the ball on the first tackle. Off go the Kangaroos to the other end...

  60. 11 mins: 
    NO TRY- Australia 6-0 Fiji

    Johnathan Thurston's high kick causes chaos in the Fiji back line but video referee Ben Thaler is unhappy with the amount of contact made on Akuila Uate by Brent Tate. No try.

  61. 11 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- Australia 6-0 Fiji

    Could be a second Australia try...

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "That was too easy for Australia. The Fijians have bought a dummy and Johnathan Thurston has gone over."

  63. 8 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- Australia 6-0 Fiji - Johnathan Thurston (Johnathan Thurston con)
    Australia v Fiji

    Johnathan Thurston scored a hat-trick in the semi-final between the two sides five years ago and he is at it again here. The half-back safely gathers Cameron Smith's pass and dummies a pass before diving over to put Australia on the board. He also adds the extra two. Perfect start for the Kangaroos.

  64. 7 mins: 
    Australia 0-0 Fiji

    Marika Koroibete must be the calmest man inside Wembley. He pouches a high kick and then tries to offload before being tackled in goal. We know the Fijians like to throw the ball around a bit...

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Intensity wise, the Fijians are coming at Australia. Genetically, that is their strength, being very strong powerful people. I am always fascinated watching the Aussies and how easy they make everything look, jogging back to their positions."

  66. 5 mins: 
    Australia 0-0 Fiji

    A fairly sedate start to the game in comparison to England v New Zealand earlier on. Both sides complete their first sets. The Aussies then knock on and Fiji have a scrum 40 metres out.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The crowd are getting behind the Fijians and hopefully that will give them energy in what will be a difficult game against Australia."

  68. 0 mins: 
    KICK-OFF- Australia 0-0 Fiji

    Time for semi-final number two for the right to play New Zealand in the final - off we go...

  69. 1532: 

    The anthems are over. Fiji are getting into their customary pre-match huddle and singing their team song. One of the most beautiful images of this World Cup.


    BBC Sport's Phil Harlow: Sam Burgess produced one of the best individual performances I've ever seen by a British player in either code.

  71. 1529: 

    The teams are out and the anthems have begun. Only a few minutes before we find out whether Australia and Fiji will join New Zealand in next weekend's World Cup final at Old Trafford.

  72. 1527: 
    Sam Burgess is tackled by Ashton Sims and Korbin Sims

    Paramount to Fiji's success at this World Cup has been their fearsome forward pack, with contains brothers Ashton and Tariq Sims.

    Australia forward James Tamou is a team-mate of theirs at NRL side North Queensland Cowboys and is well aware of their qualities as both players and people.

    "They're passionate boys," said Tamou. "They're passionate about where they're from and they're passionate about their families.

    "They leave nothing on the field, especially Ashton. He gets right into it, he's very emotional. He'll be one of their go-forward players."

  73. 1525: 

    Australia coach Tim Sheens is expecting a "really tough game" against Fiji in today's second semi-final at Wembley.

    The tournament favourites face Fiji, a side which they beat 34-2 in the group stage but who impressed in matches against England and Samoa.

    "In the England game it was 6-6 after 40 minutes and a few things got away from them," said Sheens. "I think Fiji have improved since then. They've nothing to lose and everything to gain."

  74. 1523: 
    Fiji players celebrate

    Qualified third from Group A:

    Fiji 32-14 Ireland

    Fiji 2-34 Australia

    Fiji 12-34 England

    Quarter-final: Fiji 22-4 Samoa

    Top try scorer: Akuila Uate (3)

  75. 1521: 
    Brett Morris

    Qualified as Group A winners:

    Australia 28-20 England

    Australia 34-2 Fiji

    Australia 50-0 Ireland

    Quarter-final: Australia 62-0 USA

    Top try scorer: Brett Morris, Jarryd Hayne (6)

  76. 1519: 

    Speaking on BBC One earlier today, Slater said: "You want that physicality going into the final and I'm sure Australia and Fiji won't be stepping back from the challenge either.

    "My knee is feeling good. I haven't tested it yet and the swelling has gone down. If we get to the final I give myself a small chance of playing but I have to put myself through my paces."

  77. 1518: 
    Australia full-back Billy Slater sits out training

    If Australia are to reach yet another World Cup final, they must do it without one of their star men, Billy Slater.

    The full-back suffered a knee injury in last weekend's quarter-final win against the USA and will miss today's last-four clash with Fiji.

    And if the Kangaroos do make it to Old Trafford, Slater will be determined to banish the memory of his costly error that contributed to a final defeat by New Zealand five years ago.

  78. 1518: 

    Australia: Inglis; Morris, Tate, Hayne, Boyd; Thurston, Cronk; Scott, Smith (c), Tamou, Bird, Thaiday, Gallen.

    Replacements: Cherry-Evans, Papalii, Fifita, Parker.

    Fiji: K. Naiqama; Koroibete, Waqa, W. Naiqama, Uate; Millard, Groom; A. Sims, Storer, Civoniceva (c), T. Sims, Bukuya, Vunakece.

    Replacements: Koroisau, Roqica, Evans, Waqavatu.

  79. 1516: 
    Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva

    Today could mark the final chapter in the oustanding career of Fiji captain Petero Civoniceva.

    The 37-year-old prop, who represented Australia at the 2008 World Cup and won 45 caps for the Kangaroos, is set to retire at the end of the tournament.

    "He's one of the all-time great props," said Australia coach Tim Sheens. "To survive as long as he has with 40-plus Tests is not easy, I can tell you.

    "Anyone who has played the game for 10 years or more in the NRL has had a great career, let alone to have played up front for all that time. All credit to him for a fantastic career."

  80. 1514: 
    Australia congratulate Johnathan Thurston

    Australia will be hoping for a comfortable passage to next weekend's final at Old Trafford, similar to the one they experienced five years ago against today's opponents Fiji.

    Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater scored hat-tricks in a 52-0 win in Sydney.

    Playing at full-back for Fiji on that day was Jarryd Hayne, who is representing Australia at this World Cup, while veteran prop Petero Civoniceva - Fiji's captain in 2013 - was part of the Kangaroos' line-up.

  81. 1512: 

    In the meantime, let's turn the focus to our second semi-final between Australia and Fiji...


    So then, what next for England after their heartbreaking World Cup exit? The future of coach Steve McNamara is expected to be a topic for debate in the days to come - should he remain in charge? Use the hashtag #bbcrl or text in 81111.

  83. 1509: 
    New Zealand v England

    England prop James Graham: "It's hard to put into words. We put so much effort in and came away with nothing. We put pride in the England shirt but that means nothing at the moment. When two good teams go at it, there's got to be one winner. It was an intense game, and for the neutral it must have been a great game, but it's not a good feeling for us because we're on the wrong end of the scoreline."

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "Without doubt the best performance of the tournament from England. The intensity was there did it for the full 80 minutes today. This hurt never goes away, losing a game at the death like that.

    "They had so many chances to put the game to bed and if they took one of those, we would be here with England in the final. Sam Burgess's performance the greatest individual performance I have seen in an England shirt for the last 20 years."

    GET INVOLVED #bbcrl It's just never over until that final whistle and heartbreaking for England fans. Shaun Johnson take a bow and what a step. Wow.

    Noah Goodliffe: Devastated....

    Nathan Driscoll: It's quite gratifying to be so gutted at the end of a match. What a performance England; what an unbelievable game.

  86. 1507: 

    England forward and man-of-the-match winner Sam Burgess: "I'm very disappointed for the team. I thought our effort was there today. We fought through some patches as a team and showed a lot of strength. I'm thankful for the man-of-the-match award but I'd rather have the win than this medal.

    "We put a lot of hard work into this tournament and we feel we've not got what we deserved."

  87. 1503: 

    England coach Steve McNamara: "It is a tough way to go out in a high level sport which can be cruel at times. The two teams went at each other and there was not much in it. We were getting close, doing a lot of things right and a cruel way to finish.

    "It has put rugby league on the map and shown people how great it is. The World Cup has been great for the sport. It has not been a difficult campaign at all."

  88. 1502: 

    New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney: "It was a real test match and England had a great game today. We kept fighting and hanging in there and with a couple of minutes to go, we took the opportunity. We always back ourselves if there is enough time on the board and I was confident we would give ourselves the opportunity. I am very happy."

  89. 1501: 

    A penny for the thoughts of George Burgess right now. His high, tired tackle on Sonny Bill Williams in the final minute was penalised and ultimately led to New Zealand's magical winning moment.

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "For an England fan, the last minute and a half was horrific viewing. We deserved and did enough to get to the final."

  91. 1459: 

    So New Zealand are through to the final, and the semi-final between Australia and Fiji kicks off in around 30 minutes. Before then, we will hear from the main protagonists in an outstanding first contest at Wembley.

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    Matthew Rogerson: What a score to win a fantastic game.

    Sadik Chowdhury: What drama.

    Kate Fanning: That is absolutely gutting for the England boys. All came down to a high tackle in the end!

  93. 1456: 

    England coach Steve McNamara spoke before the game about the fine margins that would settle the game. And so it proved.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "Fans were leaving their seat before Shaun Johnson kicked the conversion that won New Zealand the semi-final and clinched their place in the World Cup final. Lots and lots of stunned faces inside Wembley. An incredible game ends in the most disappointing way possible for England and their fans."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "England lost their shape in defence and what a try from Shaun Johnson. I am lost for words. They were so close but the discipline let them down against the calibre of New Zealand. What an amazing game of rugby league."

  96. 80 mins: 
    FULL-TIME- New Zealand 20-18 England

    And that was the last kick of the game. Heartbreak for England.

  97. 79 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- New Zealand 20-18 England - Shaun Johnson (Shaun Johnson con)
    New Zealand v England

    Another brilliant try for New Zealand, and England hearts are broken. Shaun Johnson jinks his way through the English defence and then gets to his feet to kick the Kiwis into the World Cup final. England players crestfallen. New Zealand jubilant.

  98. 79 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    New Zealand penalty with 50 seconds to go...

  99. 79 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    One more set for England to hold out. How are the nerves?

  100. 78 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    Heroic defending from England. Kieran Foran's high kick is almost claimed by Sonny Bill Williams, but he cannot grasp the ball from a towering leap. Two minutes left.

  101. 75 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    Sam Burgess has been named man of the match at Wembley. His try could have sent England to Old Trafford. Just hope he keeps his shorts on this week...

  102. 74 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    Oh, how unlucky Ryan Hall. How unlucky. New Zealand work an overlap on their right touchline, but Hall intercepts the pass to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and juggles it, then drops it with an 80-metre dash to the line at his mercy. The Kiwis cannot take advantage as Kevin Locke's pass is fired into touch. Big error. Are they losing their grip on the World Cup?

  103. 73 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    Both sides deserve huge credit for their performances here. Unfair that there has to be a loser, but there will be. Seven minutes until we find out who will be the unlucky ones.

    Robbie Hunter-Paul, Former New Zealand international and BBC Sport expert

    "New Zealand will have to throw caution to the wind now and the England defence will need to expect anything and everything."

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    Ian Harvey: Top game! Keep your heads England!

    Gary: What an advert for rugby league.

    Lizzie Whitton: What. A. Match. Can't cope with this!

  106. 70 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    That could have been THE moment for England. Ben Westwood, his head bandaged, breaks the line but, under pressure, loses his grip on the ball inches short of the try line. This one is far from over.

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    The Sports Witterer: Sam burgess is a monster! Come on England!

    Sam Olden: This is the best game of league I have ever seen, hands down!

    Nathan Fozzard: Slamming Sam! Just shows how good the NRL is, Graham and Burgess have come on miles since moving out there.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "You could cut the atmosphere with a blunt knife here at Wembley. Tense, tense, tense. This could yet boil over."

  109. 68 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-18 England

    New Zealand kick the ball out on the full from the restart. England back in the Kiwi half.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "Wembley has been sucked right into this match now. It has become a blow-for-blow battle to make it through to the final. Referee Ben Cummins is becoming an increasingly important figure - both teams are looking for penalties around the ruck."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "I think the fact that Sam Burgess missed the last World Cup, the try mean more to him. England should know how to close out this game and stifle New Zealand now."

  112. 66 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- New Zealand 14-18 England - Sam Burgess (Kevin Sinfield con)
    Sam Burgess

    Sam Burgess brings Wembley to its feet with England's third try that puts Steve McNamara's side back in front. James Roby and Kevin Sinfield combine to send Burgess rampaging through. He runs straight at full-back Kevin Locke and barges past him to score. Sinfield kicks the goal and England are 14 minutes from a World Cup final.

  113. 65 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-12 England

    Ryan Hall saw his name in lights as a gap appeared on the left touchline. Fate decided it would not be his moment. He slips 20 metres from the line with only one defender to beat. England keep possession and tackle the Kiwis in goal. They must drop out and face another barrage from the England pack.

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "England's resilience has been outstanding but we will see how important discipline is as the game goes on."

    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "First time in this World Cup you have seen New Zealand lose their heads, but England cannot make anything of the subsequent attack."

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "It's an off-your-feet moment at Wembley."


    England's Tom Briscoe on BBC One: "It is finely balanced and we have to keep knocking the sets out. We conceded an early try but the boys have got back on track."

  118. 61 mins: 
    New Zealand 14-12 England

    This first semi-final is certainly living up to expectations. If you missed New Zealand's first try, brilliantly set up by Kiwi centre Dean Whare for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, watch it again here.

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    James Mayfield: Amazing try England!

    nellyyyyyy: Kallum Watkins, we love you.

    Dean Spencer: Yes! Nice try England!!!

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "An incredible score for England. A try made in Leeds, a short ball from Kevin Sinfield and Kallum Watkins goes over. They did not know how to deal with England there."

  121. 58 mins: 
    TRY- New Zealand 14-12 England - Kallum Watkins
    Kallum Watkins

    England's first foray into the Kiwi half in the second period, and they score. Captain Kevin Sinfield plays an integral role, passing brilliantly for his Leeds Rhinos team-mate Kallum Watkins to score. But Sinfield is unable to kick the extra two and bring England level. What it has done, though, is brought the crowd back to life. Game on again.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "It is going to take its toll on England if they continue to concede penalties in key areas."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "England need to get some possession and territory here because the next score will be crucial, even with such a long time still to go."

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    Carlajane metcalfe: Not for the faint hearted. Best game I think I've ever seen! Rugby league at its best.

    James: Brilliant game of rugby league so far. Kieran Foran is the talent that England need to stop to win as he is so dangerous and doesn't stop.

  125. 52 mins: 
    PENALTY- New Zealand 14-8 England - Shaun Johnson

    The penalty count against England is rising. This time it's Gareth Widdop who is punished, blocking off Kevin Locke's run as Sam Tomkins claimed a high ball next to his own posts. The Kiwis go for the two points, and Shaun Johnson obliges with his third successful kick from four attempts.

  126. 50 mins: 
    New Zealand 12-8 England

    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is bundled into touch by four England defenders and is denied a hat-trick of tries, but there is no doubt that New Zealand have the momentum at present.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "The crowd has gone a little quiet, the momentum has shifted quite a lot towards the Kiwis. We're in a crucial, crucial period right now. England fell short after leading against Australia in their opening match and need to raise the intensity here."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "The Kiwis are chancing their arm with offloads. England need to get back in the game here and they need to get into these big New Zealand forwards as they did at the start of the game and use their own physical prowess."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "It was a great try. Well executed and England have been caught short. They need to get a few more numbers from the insides early on."

  130. 43 mins: 
    TRY- New Zealand 12-8 England - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the NRL's winger of the year and with good reason - he is absolutely lethal. He steps away from Gareth Widdop and Kallum Watkins before grounding the ball in the corner. That's his eighth try of the World Cup, drawing him level with England's Ryan Hall as the top scorer in the competition. Shaun Johnson misses the resulting kick, but New Zealand have the advantage.

  131. 43 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- New Zealand 8-8 England

    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is celebrating again. Has he put the Kiwis in front for the first time?

  132. 43 mins: 
    New Zealand 8-8 England

    It took five white shirts to hold up Sonny Bill Williams on the try line. Nervy moments and a bit of early pressure for England to deal with. Leroy Cudjoe's knock-on gives New Zealand another set of six 10 metres from the line.

  133. 41 mins: 
    BBC coverage- New Zealand 8-8 England

    Live coverage of New Zealand v England continues on BBC One and 5 live sports extra, where you can also listen to Australia v Fiji later on this afternoon.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "The Kiwis are experts at pulling something out of the bag. England need to concentrate for the full 40 minutes. They have contained them well so far. They might need to play boring rugby as long as they get to the final at Old Trafford."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "England have to go out in the second half and believe they can win this game."

  136. 40 mins: 
    KICK-OFF- New Zealand 8-8 England

    Issac Luke kicks long to England, and we're back under way at Wembley.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "Great first half and more of the same after the break, please. The hornet's nest has been poked now and England need to retain their composure."

  138. 1403: 

    The Dean Whare miracle pass gets better every time you watch it. An outrageous piece of skill, undoubtedly one of the moments of the World Cup, and it has helped New Zealand get back on terms. Hurry up, second half. We want more of the same, please.

  139. 1400: 

    Remember, this is just the first of two semi-finals at Wembley today. Australia face Fiji at 15:30 GMT.

    Wonder who this guy is supporting?

    Australia fan

    More pictures from Wembley today can be found on BBC Sport's Instagram page.


    Salford Red Devils owner Dr Marwan Koukash: Great first half of rugby league match. England have a real chance to go and win it. Best of luck England.

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    Carl Locke: Cracking game, too close to call.

    Max Oliver: 40 more minutes of that? Yes please!!

    Derek Gaffney: That was one of the most enthralling halves of sport I've seen in a long, long time.

  142. 1356: 

    New Zealand's Shaun Johnson: "Once we settled down we got into it but we need to go back to completing sets."

    England's Kevin Sinfield: "First 40 we can take some heart, especially from the first 20. We need to nip the mistakes in the bud."

    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert
    Sam Burgess

    "Sam Burgess has been exceptional in the first half and has delivered. He is a leader within the team and sets the lead for the rest of the forwards to follow. He gives 100% in everything he does and he is athletic and skilful too as well as being powerful."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "The key areas in this World Cup has been to make a spectacle and everyone will have enjoyed this. The Kiwi try was fantastic, and great skills were on show from the NRL players."

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "Passion, guts, skills, determination - all on show by England in the opening half and lapped up by the crowd. This has been incredible. Without question, England should be ahead on the scoreboard but will the hard work they have done in the opening half pay dividends when the game opens up after the break? Or will NZ's silky skills come to the fore?"

  146. 40 mins: 
    HALF-TIME- New Zealand 8-8 England

    Referee Ben Cummins blows the half-time whistle. What a first half. We're level at 8-8 as the players head down the tunnel.

  147. 38 mins: 
    PENALTY- New Zealand 8-8 England - Shaun Johnson

    England are showing some of the war wounds from a bruising first period at Wembley. Ben Westwood has headed down the tunnel with a knock to his cheekbone. In the meantime, New Zealand are awarded a penalty for an infringement by George Burgess and Shaun Johnson kicks from 40 metres. It's all square at 8-8 on the verge of the interval.

  148. 35 mins: 
    New Zealand 6-8 England

    A lot of the talk before the game was about Gareth Widdop's selection ahead of Rangi Chase. At the moment, he is justifying the faith shown in him by England coach Steve McNamara. His grubber kick is collected in goal but England get another set of six in sight of the try line.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "New Zealand have scored 138 points in the first half of games in the tournament so far and that subliminal skill from Dean Whare ensures they are back in this game here. Wembley had its collective breath taken away by Whare's flicked pass. The atmosphere has just ramped up another level."


    New Zealand's Thomas Leuluai on BBC One: "That was amazing skill from Dean and we needed it. England have done well but we need to settle into our game plan and we are giving away too many penalties."

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "I'm speechless and I am paid to say something. This is rugby league at its best. You have to applaud the vision of Issac Luke and the skill of Dean Whare. Well played New Zealand and it shows how important it is to keep the ball alive. Wow."

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    Will Grisley: That was an incredible piece of skill.

    Aaron Cyril Hayward: That has to be the best miracle ball I have ever seen!!

    Isaac Fanin: That is INSANITY! WHAT A TRY!

    We enjoyed it too. Amazing try. Liquid rugby league.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Fantastic try, it could be the try of the tournament but that is what it has taken to break down England. New Zealand have some unbelievable players who can throw the ball around and you just stand up and applaud that."

  154. 30 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- New Zealand 6-8 England - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Shaun Johnson con)
    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

    Take a bow, Dean Whare. After New Zealand had somehow kept the ball alive on the final tackle, the centre not only jumps and stays in touch, but produces a miracle pass to send Roger Tuivasa-Sheck over for his seventh try of the competition. Unbelievable skill.

  155. 29 mins: 
    TRY REVIEW- New Zealand 0-8 England

    New Zealand think they have scored one of the tries of the tournament. Are they over? Plenty for the video referee to check on...

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "I reckon England are having a pop at New Zealand half-back Shaun Johnson. Sonny Bill Williams is having to do a lot of work to protect him but even the greatest athletes in the world run out of juice."

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "England have matched New Zealand up front and matched them physically. All the players have been solid in defence, but they have shown their fitness when going forward too."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "If Sam Burgess is on the charge you need to stick to him rigidly and watch out for that offload."

  159. 27 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-8 England

    I get the feeling England coach Steve McNamara will be quite happy with this start. An excellent defensive effort and decent in attack, with Sean O'Loughlin scoring the game's only try so far. Leroy Cudjoe is carried into touch within sight of the line. Another score before half-time would do very nicely for the tournament's co-hosts.

    Robbie Hunter-Paul, Former New Zealand international and BBC Sport expert

    "We said before the game that New Zealand haven't been challenged before and this is how they have found themselves. England weathered the early storm and now New Zealand have to do the same."

  161. 24 mins: 
    PENALTY- New Zealand 0-8 England - Kevin Sinfield

    More evidence of Sam Burgess' growing stature as one of the best forwards in the world. The South Sydney man produces a brilliant step to evade Elijah Taylor and England earn a penalty, which Kevin Sinfield slots over from close range.

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    Peter Dobson: Sam Burgess is an absolute monster. Come on England.

    Ian Robertson: At what point to the England players start to think "Let's not run at 12"

    Tom Wray: Huuuuuge tackles in this game.


    England's Liam Farrell on BBC One: "It has been a physical start and we have been building a bit of pressure and we are getting on top now. The big boys are throwing themselves in there but the Kiwis are doing the same."

  164. 21 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-6 England

    This is the first time New Zealand have been behind in this World Cup. Will be interesting to see how they respond.

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "Twice England have defended three straight sets from the Kiwis and now have their reward for their defensive work. The Kiwi coaching bench sat behind me does not look overly concerned just yet. The vast majority of the fans really lifting the England team, who are in turn playing with a huge amount of passion."

    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "It has been a really intense start and the game will be defined by pieces of extra work. Defensively it has been outstanding so far."

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    Marc Liptrot: Get in, good start England!

    Brad: Yes England!

    Ste Morgan: All that pressure soaked up then boom!! Classy stuff from England.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "There will be lot of people looking at the that try and the key person was James Roby. There was some brilliant passing and I said England are coming here to do a job but there has not been much belief from others."

  169. 15 mins: 
    CONVERTED TRY- New Zealand 0-6 England - Sean O'Loughlin (Kevin Sinfield con)
    Sean O'Loughlin

    The breakthrough for England, and reward for the superb defensive effort that they have put in early on at Wembley. Powerful carries by James Graham and Sam Burgess set up the chance for Sean O'Loughlin to open the scoring. Kevin Sinfield slots over the extras and England lead 6-0.

  170. 14 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    Maybe an error from the officials as referee Ben Cummins gives a knock-on against New Zealand, although replays suggest England hooker James Roby kicked the ball backwards. Can England take advantage?

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "England have to test New Zealand all the time. But there is a worry on the left-hand defensive side for England."

  172. 13 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    Kieran Foran's high kick is spilled forward by Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins is caught offside. From the resulting penalty, England's defence is solid and Sonny Bill Williams drops the ball. England back in possession.

  173. 11 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    A breathless, bruising start to this semi-final contest. But still no breakthrough. First score in this one could be crucial.

    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "There are some wonderful players out there with world-class match-ups all over the field. This England team are in the mood."

    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "The crowd right behind England here, absolutely cheering every kick and tackle made. Some huge hits so far, you can see the shuddering, juddering impact 50 yards away in the stands. Thunderous, brutal stuff so far."

  176. 10 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    Josh Charnley, desperate to keep the play alive on tackle six, puts England under pressure with a blind pass that only picks out a black shirt. They work an overlap on the left touchline and streak towards the whitewash, but a combination of Ryan Hall and James Graham keep the Kiwis at bay.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "The crowd have perked up now, and this Kiwi side is like an egg. Hard on the outside but if England keep chipping away, they will get to the soft stuff."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales international and BBC Sport expert

    "Fantastic positional play by Sam Tomkins to deny New Zealand's Issac Luke but great defence by England. The execution of the New Zealand passing is top quality."

  179. 7 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    The first meeting between Sam Burgess and Sonny Bill Williams. Unsurprisingly, it's a massive hit by Sonny Bill. But England win the penalty as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves comes in with a high shot on Burgess. Josh Charnley's break brings the England fans to their feet, and then Kevin Sinfield kicks for Ryan Hall, who is unable to get on the end of it.

  180. 4 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    More good defending by England as the Kiwis work the ball wide to Jason Nightingale, who is tackled into touch by Josh Charnley. Impressive start by the World Cup holders, and England holding firm for now.

    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "Sam Tomkins is a fascinating character. He launched the ball into the back of the crowd and saved his country a try. I have been impressed by the physicality of England in the opening few minutes."

  182. 4 mins: 
    NO TRY- New Zealand 0-0 England

    England escape. New Zealand hooker Issac Luke kicks through to himself and would have grounded the ball but for the intervention of full-back Sam Tomkins.

  183. 4 mins: 

    Have the Kiwis gone over through Issac Luke?

  184. 3 mins: 
    New Zealand 0-0 England

    Some huge hits already in the opening two minutes. Skipper Kevin Sinfield kicks early in the tackle count and a good kick-chase by England sends New Zealand into their own half. Jesse Bromwich has the ball stolen by James Roby, illegally according to referee Ben Cummins, and the Kiwis have a penalty 40 metres out.


    Benjamin Wood: "This game is gonna be brilliant."

    Tulsen Tollett, Former Super League star and BBC Sport expert

    Here we go! Can England match NZ up front and have NZ played enough tough games leading into this? All will be answered!

  187. 0 mins: 
    KICK-OFF- New Zealand 0-0 England

    Away we go...

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    Harry Fox: "Here we go... Burgess vs. Sonny Bill."

  189. 1302: 

    I was right. The stadium falls silent as New Zealand perform their Haka. The England players stared straight ahead. They all mean business.

  190. 1300:  
    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "No lack of atmosphere here at Wembley Stadium. The first two tiers are pretty full. Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney sat just behind me. If the intense look on his face is anything to go by it could be a long afternoon for England."

  191. 1300: 
    New Zealand v England

    There is a determined look about the New Zealand players, arms locked together, as they sing their national anthem. England, in their red tracksuit tops, have the same steely stare. The English anthem was certainly sung with more gusto. Maybe the Kiwis are saving themselves for the Haka...

  192. 1257:  
    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "I am almost crying. These are the sort of games you want to play in your career."

  193. 1256:  
    Jon Wells, Former Super League winger and BBC Radio 5 live expert

    "It revolves around the ruck today whether England win or lose. They need to control the speed and the offloads. The big forwards will push through the England backline and have a quick play-the-ball. Then they have Issac Luke running at them. They need to slow that down."

  194. 1256: 

    The teams are in the tunnel. Captain Kevin Sinfield looks hugely focused at the front of the England line. And here they come...

  195. 1255:  
    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "We came up short in 2008 but I expect England to go one better today. A good start is key and no mistakes for them to get themselves in the contest."

  196. 1253:  
    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "A change in direction is a worry for a big game but this team is strong and having the right 24 in the squad is the key. Sometimes there are changes in a team because of injuries.

    "Rangi [Chase] is an impulsive player but I think today some of the more fundamental things will get England over the line. If they want a big play they still have enough players to do that."

  197. 1252: 

    England: Tomkins; Charnley, Cudjoe, Watkins, Hall; Widdop, Sinfield (c); Graham, Roby, S. Burgess, Ferres, Westwood, O'Loughlin.

    Replacements: Burrow, G. Burgess, Hill, Ablett.

    New Zealand: Locke; Tuivasa-Sheck, Whare, Goodwin, Nightingale; Foran, Johnson; Waerea-Hargreaves, Luke, Bromwich, Mannering (c), Williams, Taylor.

    Replacements: Nuuausala, Kasiano, Matulino, Glenn.

  198. 1251:  
    Jamie Peacock, Former England captain and BBC Sport expert

    "Kevin Sinfield is a fantastic leader, fantastic captain and crucial for England. His ability to be in the right places will be important to England. He turns the momentum of the game around for his side and the kicking game will be extremely important."

  199. 1250: 

    Both sets of players are pacing around in their respective Wembley dressing rooms, taking a final few deep breaths. Kick-off is nearly upon us.

  200. 1249: 
    Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

    Qualified as Group B winners:

    New Zealand 42-24 Samoa

    New Zealand 48-0 France

    New Zealand 56-10 Papua New Guinea

    Quarter-final: New Zealand 40-4 Scotland

    Top try scorer: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (6)

  201. 1248: 
    England celebrate Ryan Hall's try

    Qualified second from Group A:

    England 20-28 Australia

    England 42-0 Ireland

    England 34-12 Fiji

    Quarter-final: England 34-6 France

    Top try scorer: Ryan Hall (8)

  202. 1247:  
    Brian Noble, Former Great Britain coach and BBC Sport expert

    "You have to have a team effort against New Zealand. They have some talented individuals and it needs to be a team defensive effort but I fully expect that from England today."

  203. 1245: 

    New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney: "It is a great opportunity for everyone involved and we have a chance of getting into the final and the lads are looking forward to it.

    "We can only deal with what's put in front of us. We've had areas where we've needed to improve and we've done that. We understand what's in front of us today and we've prepared accordingly.

    "Sometimes things happen in the camp and England had a couple of issues but they have got better and better each week and it sometimes binds the team. We are under no illusions on what we expect to come up against today."

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    Rosalind Buckley: "Players are warming up & Wembley is filling up."

    England players
  205. 1243:  
    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "New Zealand were out 40 minutes before kick-off going through their warm-up routines. Ice-cool England left it till the 30 minutes to go mark before they appeared. Very chilly here, lots of woolly hats on show as fans make their way into the stadium. I would not exactly say the place is over-flowing with optimism about England's prospects. Expectant no, hopeful yes."

  206. 1243: 
    Ben Westwood scores for England against Fiji

    Coming against Williams at Wembley today is 'Super Bennie Westwood', as the England forward is affectionately known by the fans at his club, Warrington Wolves.

    "There's no two ways about it - he's a world-class athlete," said Westwood. "The things he does, a lot of people can't do.

    "It's exciting. I've never played against him before. It's good to test yourself against the best in the world and that's probably what he is.

    "It's one I'll look forward to. I'll try to do my best against the best. It will be a good contest I'm sure."

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    Ali Mason: "With Chase and Tomkins we had real creativity available and could utilise the likes of Burgesses and Graham. Widdop seems too safe."

  208. 1241: 
    Sonny Bill Williams in action for New Zealand at the World Cup

    A World Cup winner in rugby union, a New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion, and one of the most feared forwards in rugby league.

    Sonny Bill Williams came into the tournament as one of the star attractions and has not disappointed with a series of outstanding performances for holders New Zealand.

    The 28-year-old has been speaking to BBC Sport ahead of today's semi-final.

  209. 1239: 
    Bryson Goodwin and Sam Burgess

    They may be enemies for 80 minutes this afternoon, but New Zealand centre Bryson Goodwin will come up against old friends at Wembley.

    Goodwin plays alongside all four Burgess brothers - Luke, Sam, George and Thomas - at South Sydney Rabbitohs.

    Sam and George are included in England's 17-man squad today after outstanding seasons in the NRL.

    "They have made a massive impact in Australia," Goodwin told BBC Sport. "They have all played excellent rugby this year and are only young boys, so will just get better and better, which is a good thing for Souths.

    "They love Australia, they are great characters to be around and it will be good against them. It is always fun playing against your club team-mates and I'm excited about it."

  210. 1238:  
    Jon Wilkin, England, St Helens and BBC Sport expert

    "Gareth Widdop has come in from the NRL and he will bring in some composure and consistency with a great kicking game to complement captain Kevin Sinfield.

    "They have trained together in South Africa, developed a relationship and the key to a half-back is how you work with others.

    "There won't be an issue with him today and there is a lot of motivation for him to do well. He will feel aggrieved he hasn't played enough in the tournament so far."

  211. 1236:  
    Jamie Jones-Buchanan, England, Leeds Rhinos and BBC Sport expert

    "I believe more than anybody else in this stadium that England will do the job today, I have no doubt about it. They have not performed exceptionally well in the tournament so far but today they have something big to build up for. So many of the boys want this game so desperately."

  212. 1235: 

    England coach Steve McNamara: "We are at international level and we have have had tough selections all throughout the tournaments, and I feel Gareth Widdop is right for this match.

    "We've got to focus on the way we want to play. Gareth has been very patient and I'm really looking forward to seeing him play.

    "It will be a great game. We will be challenged, they will be too in a big arena. Both teams will play well today and there will be some fine margins. We've got to make sure we're on the right side of those margins."

  213. 1235: 

    Time to hear from some of the key men involved today, and assess where the first of today's semi-finals will be won and lost...

    GET INVOLVED #bbcrl

    Tom Camplin: If Rangi Chase didn't have the mentality of Joey Barton he would be a great player... Good squad today.

    Still time for you to have your say via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or text...

  215. 1231: 
    England's Burgess brothers

    Understandably, there was lots of attention on England's Burgess brothers leading up to the World Cup.

    Sam, George and Thomas are all in the national squad, while eldest sibling Luke narrowly missed out on selection.

    The quartet, who play in Australia's NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, come from humble beginnings in Yorkshire and have suffered personal tragedy at a young age, losing their father to Motor Neurone Disease.

    As part of the BBC's Get Inspired series, the Burgess boys tell the story of their rise to the top of rugby league.

  216. 1229: 

    Just half an hour to go until the first of our Wembley double-header gets under way as England take on New Zealand. Live coverage is about to begin on BBC One and 5 live sports extra.

  217. 1228: 

    Warrington forward Ben Westwood, another of the defeated England side from 2008, added: "We've been working for the last three or four years towards this World Cup.

    "New Zealand are a top-quality side with some dangerous players, but in one-off games anything can happen.

    "It's about who turns up on the day. In the last World Cup, New Zealand turned up both days and ended up winning."

  218. 1227: 
    England's Rob Burrow after the 2008 World Cup defeat by New Zealand

    Rob Burrow is one of four survivors in the England team that lost to New Zealand at the semi-final stage five years ago.

    Speaking ahead of today's rematch with the Kiwis, Leeds Rhinos man Burrow recalled: "It was a disappointing exit last time.

    "We're in a similar situation now. We probably never really played massively well in that tournament and I still think we're improving in this, so it's very similar."

  219. 1224: 
    Lance Hohaia scores for New Zealand against England in 2008

    If England need any inspiration ahead of today's semi-final against New Zealand, all they need to do is look back five years and to the same stage of the last World Cup in Australia.

    Their hopes of success in 2008 were ended after a 32-22 defeat by the Kiwis in Brisbane.

    While England contemplated what might have been, Stephen Kearney's side went on to win the competition.

  220. 1221: 
    Sean O'Loughlin lifts the Challenge Cup in August 2013

    Wembley is familiar territory for a number of England players, many of them having appeared at the stadium in Challenge Cup finals over the past few years.

    Sean O'Loughlin, a Challenge Cup winner with Wigan in August, is sure the venue will bring the best out of Steve McNamara's men.

    "We know we can get a lot better and I think playing at Wembley will get a lot more out of everyone," said the Warriors skipper, who scored a try in England's quarter-final win over France a week ago.

    "I think the venue itself can get the better of you sometimes, but there are a lot of players in the squad who have been there - the Wigan, Warrington and Leeds lads have all played there [in Challenge Cup finals].

    "I wouldn't say they're familiar with it, but they've been there and I think it could be a bit of an advantage."

  221. 1217: 
    Jason Nightingale

    New Zealand's main selection concern this week was on the wing, and with Manu Vatuvei ruled out with a groin problem, Jason Nightingale will start for the Kiwis at Wembley.

    Coach Stephen Kearney has faith in the St George Illawarra man to be a more than able replacement.

    "There was a chance that he [Vatuvei] could have been right for Saturday but we would have had to wait right up until the last minute," said Kearney, who led New Zealand to World Cup success in 2008.

    "With what's at stake, I wanted to give Jason Nightingale a full week's preparation on the wing, so he could get his mind around playing.

    "I know Jason is a tremendous footballer and it's certainly hard to leave him off your team list when you're picking a team. He'll do a wonderful job for us."

  222. 1215:  
    Paul Fletcher, BBC Sport at Wembley

    "It was a beautiful, crisp morning at Wembley Stadium. It briefly - and ominously - clouded over but the sun is shining once again. Fans were making their way off the tubes hours before kick-off and there is a real buzz around the stadium with a crowd pushing 70,000 expected. I even spotted some fans draped in Russian flags. Niche market that one.

    "England players were out on the pitch, throwing a ball around, not long after 11:00 GMT as they soaked in the atmosphere and attempted to grasp the magnitude of the games that lies in front of them. Sam Tomkins was particularly busy, pulling of all kinds of deft flicks, some of which reached their intended target!"

  223. 1213: 
    Gareth Widdop

    The 24-year-old was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire before moving to Melbourne with his family at the age of 16 and is not unfamiliar with the big game, having won the NRL Premiership with Melbourne Storm in 2012.

    A horrific dislocated hip suffered in June put his World Cup chances in doubt, but he made a remarkable recovery and starts at six for England today.

  224. 1210: 

    In his pre-match media conference, head coach Steve McNamara indicated that Rangi Chase had failed to make enough of an impact in England's quarter-final victory against France in Wigan last weekend, and revealed the player had asked to be given time away from the squad.

    "I was happy to grant that so he's back at home with his family," said McNamara. "We'll let him have the weekend at home, and then when we get back into camp next week, all things being well, he'll be with us.

    "Each time you pick an international team, it's tough. It's based on what I think is right for the team this week going into this game, the way we want to play this game, and based a little bit on performance - certainly [from] last week.

    "There's no issue whatsoever for me with him [Chase]. He wasn't picked. People deal with that in different ways."

  225. 1208: 
    England half-back Rangi Chase

    Rangi Chase was the surprise omission from Steve McNamara's 19-man squad for today's World Cup semi-final against the Kiwis.

    New Zealand-born Chase, who will join Salford Red Devils next season, had started all four of England's games at the tournament.

    What do you think? Has McNamara made the right choice by pairing Kevin Sinfield and Gareth Widdop in the halves?

    Plenty of ways for you to get in touch: use #bbcrl on Twitter, post a message on BBC Sport's Facebook page or text 81111.

  226. 1206: 

    England: Sam Tomkins; Josh Charnley, Leroy Cudjoe, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall; Gareth Widdop, Kevin Sinfield (c); James Graham, James Roby, Sam Burgess, Brett Ferres, Ben Westwood, Sean O'Loughlin.

    Replacements: Rob Burrow, George Burgess, Chris Hill, Carl Ablett.

    New Zealand: Kevin Locke; Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Bryson Goodwin, Jason Nightingale; Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson; Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Simon Mannering (c), Sonny Bill Williams, Elijah Taylor.

    Replacements: Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sam Kasiano, Ben Matulino, Alex Glenn.

  227. 1204: 
    England batsman Jonathan Trott walks off

    England fans will have woken up to news of another Ashes horror show this morning. The cricket team have been battered and bruised in Brisbane. Can the rugby league side help to restore some national pride and reach a World Cup final?

  228. 1201: 

    The first of today's double-header in the capital - England v New Zealand - is live on BBC One from 12:30 GMT.

    That game kicks off at 13:00 GMT, while at 15:30 GMT, it's Australia v Fiji - you can find live audio commentary of both games on 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website.

    You can also listen to audio commentary and follow the action using the new BBC Sport mobile app.

    Or, if words are your thing, you can stick with me. The choice is yours.

  229. 1200: 

    We have an exact repeat of the World Cup semi-final line-up from 2008. On that occasion, New Zealand and Australia progressed.

    Can we expect a different outcome on the hallowed turf of Wembley? BBC Sport is the best place to find out...

  230. 1200: 

    So 14 teams began and only four remain. For England, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, a spot in next week's World Cup final is just 80 minutes away...

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