The time is 10.44pm and it's the moment of strewth for Australians as England's captain Martin Johnson held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft. The northern Hemisphere team finally broke their hoodoo by winning when it matters, and even the voodoo dolls of Jonny Wilkinson on sale before the match in Sydney could not shake their resolve. In what many in the crowd later described as the best game of rugby they had ever seen, the nation perennially taunted by Australians for sporting failures finally exorcised that ghost. But the drama could hardly have been higher, and boy did they leave it late - with less than 30 seconds to go in extra time to be precise. The final swing of Jonny Wilkinson's boot sealed a famous English win and it is the flyhalf's face that will no doubt haunt nightmares Down Under for a while yet. Australian fans after the match wondered whether the famously tee-total Wilkinson would finally loosen up and celebrate with a drink or two, but most came to the conclusion that his teammates would have to spike his water bottle. But the home fans were magnanimous in defeat, preferring to focus on the privilege of watching such a thrilling sporting spectacle. Summing up their feelings, Aussie captain George Gregan first paid tribute to his victorious opponents before telling of his pride in his team. And even Wallabies coach Eddie Jones was gracious, praising the England team at the post-match press conference, before joking: 'They [England] are the best side in the world by a minute' The drama had all begun with the briefest of closing ceremonies, one with such little fanfare that many in the crowd hardly knew it had started. Twenty 'one-eye' inflatables surrounded the pitch to represent the tournament's 20 competing countries as local recording artist Kate Ceberano hammered out the Australians' adopted World Cup theme tune, True Colours. Sydney Children's Choir and the Rugby World Choir then got into the action, singing World in Union, but after just 10 minutes the teams were on the pitch and the crowd of 82,957 were on their feet. But few could have known quite what a feast Sydney had in store. Andrew Smith, 45, from Sydney, said: 'That was fantastic, superb. The players are ambassadors for their sport, from both sides. The Pommies won and they deserved it. I'll go on now to enjoy the atmosphere in the city, which has been brilliant.' Bindi Pressler, 37, from Queensland, said: 'That was the most awesome game of rugby I have ever seen. That Jonny Wilkinson deserves a medal. It was just a brilliant night, even though we lost.' And Rohan Hinchey, 27, from Blacktown, said: 'It was a fantastic game of rugby and both sides deserve enormous credit for that. The boot of Wilkinson made the difference but both sides can be very proud of the way they played.' But for the jubilant England fans, there was unadulterated joy. Jonny Katz, 39, from Knightsbridge, said: 'It was an amazing game and an amazing atmosphere. England deserved to win but Australia never buckled. Wilkinson is a hero.' And 33-year-old Mike Rhodes from Hertfordshire added: 'Scriptwriters could not have written it better. I have never been happier. I wasn't alive in 1966 [to see England win the soccer World Cup]. It's sweet to beat the Aussies because they have been sledging us for the past four years, and the past six weeks in particular. They would have been unbearable if they had won. Thanks to Jonny it hasn't come to that.'