England had dreamed of glory as they sought to inflict a first ever defeat on New Zealand in this tournament and had a kick to take the lead late in the second half when they trailed only 23-22.
However, games like this are settled by small margins and George Ford's attempted penalty sailed wide right and, effectively, England's hopes drifted away with it.
Rob Hunter's side deserve credit for the way they approached the game though. They took the game to New Zealand and visibly rocked the opposition. In fact, the only criticism you could really level at England was that they didn't score more points in the opening quarter.
Christian Wade crossed early as he showed great pace to skip his way down the line to score although there was a more than a hint of a foot on the touchline.
Ford converted for a 7-0 lead and, with England's pack dominating the early scrums, everything looked set fair.
However, slight lapses allowed New Zealand back into the game. Ben Ransom's kick was charged down leading to a successful penalty although the full back was indebted to prop Henry Thomas' superb cover tackle to prevent a try.
New Zealand then showed their ruthless and efficient side as they attacked a space left vacant by the injured winger Andy Short and opposite number Charles Piutau touched down after hooker Codie Taylor showed great pace to burn off scrum half Chris Cook.
Both teams swapped penalties to make it 13-10 in New Zealand's favour on the stroke of half time before prop Ben Tameifuna dealt England a cruel blow as he smashed his way over from close range and his fly half Anscombe converted to leave England facing a 20-10 deficit.
That promptly became 23-10 as Anscombe slotted another penalty while Ford continued his tournament long issue with goal kicking head on to the posts as he missed a chance to reduce the arrears.
England heads didn't drop and a marvellous try was fashioned for prop Henry Thomas and Ford forgot his last effort at goal and converted from wide out.
Controversy then reigned as flanker Matt Kvesic seemed to have scored under the posts, the tip of the ball certainly looked to have touched the ground but the TMO ruled the ball was held up.
England did subsequently score wide out as Wade latched on to Elliott Daly's expertly weighted grubber. However, the conversion was from the touchline and faded across the posts. 23-22 was as close as England got.
Ford missed what would have been a go ahead penalty whereas the dead eyed Anscombe made no mistake when offered a sight of the posts and Barrett's late try broke England hearts.