Two late tries by France hat-trick hero Nicolas Clausells dashed England's Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup hopes in Perpignan on Friday night.
England, beaten 71-31 in a group game against France only a week earlier, raced into a shock 10-0 lead after 18 minutes, before enjoying a 34-26 advantage late in the second period.
But Clausells' try and captain Cyril Torres' goal with eight minutes to play reeled in England's lead to two points, before Clausells broke English hearts with a match-clinching try in the dying minutes.
Jack Brown ghosts through 👋— England Rugby League (@England_RL) July 28, 2017
Watch England v France in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup Final from 6pm tonight! pic.twitter.com/RU7GVXYw9Z
Defeat was tough on England who rocked the reigning world champions, led by the outstanding Jack Brown, who scored a hat trick and seven goals from as many attempts by tryscorer Wayne Boardman.
Sebastian Bechara was also on the scoresheet early on for England, but Plaza scored two tries and three goals for France, Denuwelaere with a brace, to see the French over the line.
Friday's final brought to an end a memorable tournament for England, who bounced back from opening-day disappointment in style.
Desite a heavy early defeat, there was a bright spot as 16-year-old Nathan Collins bagged a hat-trick on his World Cup debut.
The English then stormed back to beat Wales 78-32 in their second group game.
A battling effort throughout
Nathan Collins, 16, proved to be a breakout star
They were 26-18 behind ta half time of the Wales game, but hat-tricks from Jack Brown and Sebastien Bechara contributed to a ruthless 14-try haul for England.
England began to hit top gear in their final group match as Collins bagged a stunning six tries against Australia as he helped his side into the semi-finals, beating the 'Wheelaroos' 80-26.
They had to get past Australia once again the the semis, with Brown helping himself to six tries in a 78-36 win ahead of a remarkable finale.
Nathan Collins, Jack Brown and Sebastien Bechara were all named in the Team of the Tournament.
Full time: England 34-38 France— England Rugby League (@England_RL) July 28, 2017
Late, late heartbreak for England...
... but an amazing effort by our guys 👏 pic.twitter.com/AtKyNg68Uo
Speaking after defeat in the final, vice captain and Halifax star Wayne Baordman said: "I'm so proud of everyone.
"We couldn't have done anything more - everyone left everything out there - I can't put into words how proud I am of everyone. We couldn't have asked any more of them."
Captain Jack Brown added: "We've really pushed everyone over the past few months, and everyone has found a new level during the World Cup.
"It's a young team, but they have performed so well - the future is looking bright."