Vitality Roses unable to repeat group-stage win over Australia as Diamonds pull away to triumph 61-45 and deny England a first World Cup title; Australia bounce back from defeat to New Zealand in 2019 and will now be defending champions at home World Cup in 2027
Australia beat England to claim a record-extending 12th Netball World Cup title and deny the Vitality Roses a first.
England had defeated their opponents for the first time in World Cups during the group stage, winning 56-55, but were unable to repeat the feat in Cape Town on Sunday, beaten 61-45 by the ruthless Diamonds.
Australia pulled away in the third quarter, opening up a 10-point advantage at 46-36 after leading by just four points at half-time, and then controlled the final 15 minutes to complete a clinical victory.
Jess Thirlby’s England were appearing in their maiden World Cup final, with their second-placed finish in 1975 secured when the event was round-robin.
For Australia, it was a ninth consecutive final with their only two losses in the previous eight coming versus New Zealand in Jamaica in 2003 and last time out in Liverpool in 2019.
The Diamonds made sure they did not suffer back-to-back defeats in finals and will now enter the next World Cup in Sydney in 2027 as defending champions as well as hosts and targeting title No 13.
The final – set-up on Saturday after England beat defending champions New Zealand in their semi-final and Australia overcame Jamaica – was locked at 13-13 after the first quarter.
England looked nervy early on but grew into the game, with Helen Housby starring – and levelling the scores on the buzzer – and Fran Williams making an impact after coming off the bench.
Australia seized the initiative from that point, with turnovers going against England and errors beginning to creep in for Thirlby’s team.
England suffer first loss of impressive tournament
England had been forced to settle for bronze in the last three World Cups and came into this tournament after a fourth-placed finish at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – a competition they had won four years earlier on the Gold Coast after pipping hosts Australia 52-51.
They were unable to topple the Diamonds in this final but should be proud of their performance throughout the tournament, with their only defeat coming against one of the most dominant teams the sport has seen.
The game was the last in an England shirt for Geva Mentor, who was appearing in her sixth World Cup.
The 38-year-old, who will continue to play domestically for Leeds Rhinos, said: “It is a bit bittersweet. The last game in a red dress is a loss.
“But to go where no English team has gone before and to come away with a silver medal, I am so proud of this group and to be part of this legacy.
“The moment caught up with me hearing the atmosphere – I am not one for crying but I could definitely feel myself well up.”