England have set up a netball semi-final with Australia at the Commonwealth Games after sinking reigning world champions New Zealand 54-44 in Birmingham.
The hosts were never behind as they fashioned a one-point half-time advantage before pulling away to lead by six at end of the third quarter.
They then staged another final quarter surge to secure a 10-point margin.
The result, in front of a raucous home crowd at the NEC Arena, means Jess Thirlby’s team will face a rematch of the memorable 2018 final against the Australians, who suffered a shock 57-55 defeat to Jamaica earlier on Thursday in their final group stage game.
Any suggestions England might wish to swerve a last-four slot against Australia, whom they beat 52-51 in dramatic fashion on the Gold Coast four years ago, were swiftly ended as they surged in front with a performance underpinned by 37-year-old goalkeeper Geva Mentor.
Mentor repelled the threat of New Zealand goalshooter Grace Nweke, 17 years her junior, throughout a hard-fought contest with the Silver Ferns star finishing with 23 goals from her 29 attempts.
In contrast, Eleanor Cardwell top-scored for England with 26 goals from her own 29 attempts, with Helen Housby just three goals behind.
The manner of their win over New Zealand, who beat them in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, will give England plenty of confidence ahead of Saturday’s last-four clash.
New Zealand will face the Jamaicans, who trailed by six goals heading into the final quarter against Australia but who hit back to claim a famous victory and reach the semi-finals as Group A winners.