ENGLAND coach Clive Woodward claimed an appearance in the World Cup final was just what his men deserved after their 24-7 semi-final win over France in driving rain in Sydney.
Jonny Wilkinson kicked all of England's points and Woodward could not contain his admiration for his players, who now face Australia in the final next Saturday, because of the difficult conditions.
"I am very proud of everyone involved, all the staff especially the players, and the eight who weren't involved," said Woodward.
"Their support behind the scenes this week has been fantastic and that is what makes a champion team.
"We are very proud. We have come here to try and win the World Cup and we are now one game away from it.
"I am very pleased for the team and they thoroughly deserve it. It's a great final now. I am really very pleased we are going to be there."
Woodward dismissed claims the weather played a major role in the outcome of the match.
"I have been to France on holiday and it rains a lot in France," he said. "It's about the game. It's about winning. I think we would have beaten France if it had been dry and hard.
"But they were the conditions and we dealt with them very well."
Forwards coach Andy Robinson was delighted with the performance of the England pack, who secured the foundation for Wilkinson to direct play and slot his goals.
"I think it was a magnificent performance," he said.
"There has been various quotes about them, whether they are too old, but as always they have gone out and performed.
"Today was a magnificent performance, I have got total respect for them."
Captain Martin Johnson described it as a "fantastic win". He said: "It's been a difficult week. There has been a lot of pressure on this team, a lot of expectation piled on.
"We win a World Cup quarter-final and we get criticised but it didn't reflect in our preparation. You ask the guys to play their biggest game of the tournament tonight and they did it. I thought everyone played great."
Woodward, who lived in Australia for five years when playing and coaching in Manly, had always predicted the Wallabies would make the final.
"If six weeks ago someone said to me 'what is your dream final?' I would have said England v Australia. It's going to be a great week. I am really looking forward to playing the Australians.
"I thought they were outstanding. They were in a different league to the All Blacks yesterday.
"Well done to Eddie Jones and George Gregan for handling themselves so well."
Meanwhile former England fly-half Rob Andrew has warned Woodward's men that they face a tough test against Australia in the World Cup final.
England's victory has set up a mouth-watering clash with the Wallabies, who were written off by many critics prior to the start of the tournament, but shocked New Zealand with a stunning 22-10 vic-tory on Saturday.
England may now be bookmakers' favourites to win the Webb Ellis Trophy, but Andrew - capped 71 times by his country - believes next Saturday's showdown with the hosts could be a cracking encounter.
"The final should be fascinating," said Andrew, who played against Australia in the 1991 World Cup final defeat at Twickenham.
"England have been well-prepared and professional and enjoyed a great build-up to the World Cup.
"But Australia have really laid down the gauntlet after their performance against New Zealand."
Lashing rain in Sydney made handling difficult in the 24-7 triumph over France and England once again relied on Wilkinson - who kicked all of their points. Andrew reflected: "I think conditions will play a key role in the final."