The two games were complete opposites in terms of the balance of play. While New Zealand required a last-minute try to edge past England in the first game of the Wembley double-header, Australia ran out a convincing 64-0 victory over Fiji.
Come next weekend's final, though, those results will be meaningless—as England's near miss against heavy favourites New Zealand showed.
One semi went down to the final seconds (New Zealand v England). The other finished 64-0 (Australia v Fiji). A masterpiece and a massacre.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) November 23, 2013
For the final, England will be underdogs with the bookmakers and deservedly so, with Australia 1/3 favourites with Skybet. It is understandable that they should be considered the fancied side, having reached 13 consecutive finals at the tournament.
Revenge will also be a factor. New Zealand secured a 34-20 victory over the Kangaroos in Brisbane at the last competition in 2008, winning their first-ever World Cup title.
That defeat will still be fresh in the memories of many of the Australia players, and given the immaculate nature of their progression to the final so far, it is fair to say that they plan on setting the record straight.
Prediction: Australia 23-18 New Zealand
We are in for a cracking final, whichever side should emerge victorious. With a repeat of the past final set to stir the emotions, as well as the existing trans-Tasman rivalry, both sides will be keen to ensure their rival is left with little cause for joy post-match.
The matchup in the centres will take the pre-match headlines. Australia's Brett Morris is the top yardage maker at the tournament, while opposite number Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has eight tries to his name.
Add in the experienced Greg Inglis, as well as Kiwi Dean Whare, and it becomes clear that the battle between the quartet could be decisive.
Tuivasa-Sheck and Whare are perhaps more creative, but the Australian duo have a solidity to their all-round game that will be tough for New Zealand to break down.
Sonny Bill Williams, aiming to become the first dual-code World Cup winner, will be another New Zealander under the microscope, but he will find tough-tackling second row Greg Bird a real handful as he tries to create chances with his terrific handling skills.
Australia look to be the form side and have no shortage of motivation ahead of the clash. Given those factors, as well as their status as favourites, they are the more likely winners—but any victory will be by no more than six or eight points.