New Zealand coach Steve Hansen praised England as deserved winners after Eddie Jones’ team ended their reign as world champions.
The All Blacks’ 19-7 World Cup semi-final defeat in Yokohama destroyed hopes of chasing an unprecedented third successive crown.
“Congratulations to England. I think they were deserved winners,” said Hansen, who will leave his role after next Friday’s third-place play-off against Wales or South Africa.
“You had two very good sides going at each other, and the team that took the game won the game. We played particularly well and got beaten by a better side.
“Sometimes sport is not fair, but today it is and we wish them all the best.
“We stepped up to the plate today and played as well as we could, and we have to take it on the chin. It’s hard to stomach sometimes.
“They created the go-forward in the game. We struggled to dominate at breakdown time.
“When you are going forward you get all the 50-50 decisions. That is not an excuse, but it just happens.
“England dominated the parts of the game we wanted to dominate and you have to give them credit.”
Asked to compare New Zealand’s loss to their 2007 Word Cup quarter-final defeat against France, Hansen added: “No loss is easy to take.
“The only reason it (England loss) is slightly better is that it was semis rather than quarters. The boys are desperately hurting, as are the management.
“You have to put your big boy’s pants on and stand up and be counted. They are a good team and there is no shame being beat, but there is a lot of hurt.”
Hansen, meanwhile, bristled at a question during his post-match press conference that suggested New Zealand might not have been hungry enough.
“It’s disrespectful to suggest that the All Blacks turned up not hungry enough. They are desperate to win the game,” he said.
“I asked them to get more hungry (at half-time), but they turned up hungry.
“There is a big difference, and to say an All Black comes into a semi-final with that amount of ability and history, that’s a pretty average question.”
All Blacks captain Kieran Read cut a disconsolate figure as the magnitude of his team’s defeat began to sink in.
Read said: “We gave as much as we had, and today we came up short. We are extremely disappointed by that, and it’s hard to put things into words.
“It is pretty gutting when it doesn’t go your way.
“The guys absolutely turned up with as much as we could bring, and we fell short, but we will pick ourselves up.
“But it is a hard thing to sit here and say exactly why it is. We are hurting today, and we will move on.”