England may not have won the World Cup Final against Australia today, but they have certainly gained a new-found respect from their counterparts Down Under.

Rated at 7/1 with most bookmakers to win in Brisbane, Wayne Bennett’s Lions came within a converted try of taking the Kangaroos world crown from them on home soil.

It was a match you simply could not take your eyes off, with every single one of the 34 players that took to the field putting their body on the line.

The games deciding moment came in the first half when, after four repeat sets on the England line, Michael Morgan's short pass allowed Boyd Cordner to barge over from close range.

From this point the game became a war of attrition, with both defences showing no mercy and refusing to let their opponents find away over the line.

Josh Dugan’s ankle tap on Kallum Watkins will be remembered for years to come, as the English centre was unable to keep his feet with teammates rushing in support to score.

Despite their best efforts, England could not break through as the Kangaroos retained the World Cup trophy on home soil in an exhilarating contest that ended 6-0.

After the game it was clear how close England came with the Australia players almost too tired to celebrate, and prior to the trophy ceremony Cameron Smith paid homage to the English team.

“I would just like to give a big congratulations to Wayne Bennett, Sean O’Loughlin and Sam Burgess for their incredible effort,” said Smith.

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“I think that is probably the hardest game I have ever played in and you made it very difficult for us for the full 80 minutes.

“You are an amazing team, defensively tonight you were outstanding and I think you can hold your heads high as a nation after that game and your World Cup as a whole.”

It wasn’t just the Australian captain who was impressed by England’s effort, the media Down Under also credited Bennett’s team who were expected to be rolled over by the relentless Kangaroos.

Journalist John Coomer of the Roar said: “England certainly would have lost no fans with their performance. Their completion rate was lower than Australia’s, but you couldn’t fault their effort or commitment.”

Liam Cox, 7 News Sports Reporter, added: “Easily the best Rugby League World Cup we’ve had. Tremendous tournament. England were incredibly brave and Mal Meninga’s restored pride in the Kangaroos jersey.”

Meanwhile, Fox Sports wrote in their report of the game: "England proved to be a formidable foe as Australia struggled to continue their high-scoring form.

They maintained their composure and were able to match Australia’s attack with some solid defending throughout. England can be proud of their performance.”

Finally, the Australian supporters were perhaps full of praise for England’s display more than any of the above, with many fans taking to their Facebook page to compliment the performance of their opponents.

The top comment on the Kangaroos page said: “Good tough win..Gotta give the Poms credit for their effort..Wasn’t a beating like most of us thought it would be.”

Another comment read: "Congratulations to the Kangaroos, really tough game tonight. England can hold their heads high, great defensive game from them."

And another Kangaroos fan added: “I'm shocked! Great game! Neither side would give an inch and both countries should be proud.”

So while England were unable to make history in Brisbane and bring home the World Cup, they have gained a huge amount of recognition from many of those Down Under who rarely take notice of the English game.

The question remains now as to whether Australian coach Wayne Bennett will remain in charge of England after just falling short in the closest World Cup final to date.