Australia proved to be England's tormentors once again with a stirring display to win the 2011 Four Nations title at Elland Road.
The victory gave Kangaroos captain Darren Lockyer, who scored the final try of the game in his last match, a fitting career finale.
Sam Thaiday's early try was cancelled out just before the break by Ryan Hall.
But Australia upped their game in the second half with Jharal Yow Yeh, Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston crossing.
Man of the Match Thurston also added five goals as Australia won their first major final since beating England in the 2009 Four Nations decider.
England knew they had to start well against a side who had lost to New Zealand in last year's Four Nations final.
But they fell behind after five minutes when Thurston's tricky kick was missed by Tom Briscoe and the ball came back to Thaiday who reacted fastest.
Thurston, who had been the subject of fitness concerns before the game, added the extras to give the visitors the perfect start.
It almost got better for Australia when Akuila Uate twice went close to extending the lead, and on 22 minutes, the video referee Ian Smith was called into service when Lockyer's high spiral kick was missed by Sam Tomkins and bounced kindly for Chris Lawrence but the try was disallowed for an offside infringement by the Australians.
Despite struggling with their last-tackle options and with Australia dominating, England did well to keep themselves in the game.
They got their reward on 37 minutes when Kevin Sinfield's delightful pass cut out two players and was caught by Hall, who was tackled high by Thurston while trying to ground the ball.
Although Hall dropped the ball over the line, a penalty try was awarded and Sinfield converted from in front of goal.
The try gave England a boost but an offside infringement by Gareth Ellis in the final minute of the half gifted Australia a penalty which Thurston converted to give them an 8-6 interval lead.
England began to put more pressure on their opponents at the start of the second half but when they were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes, the order came from coach Steve McNamara for Sinfield to kick, rather than attempt to push for a try and the Leeds man made it 8-8.
Yow Yeh was unlucky to have an acrobatic try disallowed by the video referee after 54 minutes but, although the decision angered the Australian fans, the Brisbane Broncos winger went over in the corner two minutes later as Australia started to take a grip on the match.
Thurston extended the lead on 61 minutes when he got on to the end of a Paul Gallen break and, as Australia started to exert their dominance in the final quarter and increasingly found space out wide, Inglis added to the England misery.
Fittingly, the final say went to Lockyer who was quickest to pounce when his own kick hit the post in the last minute and the 34-year-old marked his 59th international appearance with a try, though he failed to kick the conversion.