Captain Serevi confounds critics of his selection as he is named player of the tournament for the fourth time Prayers that had long remained unanswered were finally granted for Fiji, who defeated New Zealand 29-19 to win the World Cup at the Hong Kong Stadium last night. 'Fiji will play with seven men, but there will be an eighth person, the Lord, with us today,' was captain Waisale Serevi's rallying message to his team in their morning prayer before they left for a date with destiny. In 1997, just before the handover, they won this tournament at this same ground. The last governor Chris Patten has since been replaced by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, who in turn gave way to Acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. But there was no substitute yesterday for Fiji, who became the first country to win two World Cup Sevens. 'I love Hong Kong. I will tell the International Rugby Board to hold the next World Cup Sevens in 2009 in Hong Kong, too,' Serevi joked. But deep in his heart, he knew he had once again led Fiji to the promised land - with the country winning an international sevens tournament for the first time since December 2002. And not just any tournament, but a World Cup. With unflagging faith in their hearts, Fiji first saw off error-prone Argentina, 22-14, and then absorbed the pressure from dangerous England, 24-19, before soaring to a cup victory that no one yesterday - not even diehard Kiwi fans - would begrudge them. Written off as too old, too slow and past it by a number of his countrymen, Serevi, 36, answered all his critics in a manner befitting a king when he lifted the Melrose Cup and placed it in the hands of his four-year-old son, Serevi Junior, to bring to an end a two-year title drought in fitting style. 'I thank the Lord for helping us win the World Cup. And I thank my coach Wayne Pivac for having faith in me, an old man at 36,' Serevi said gleefully. He capped his return to Hong Kong - having missed the last two Hong Kong Sevens - in glorious fashion when he was later named as player of the tournament, winning the title for a record fourth time in Hong Kong. The king had returned. Serevi was no mere bystander, no pretty ornament placed in the team just to give spirit and heart to the others. He was a match-winner, as he showed in a gripping semi-final against England when he broke a 19-19 deadlock by scoring the try in extra-time that knocked out the champions of the last three Hong Kong Sevens. 'It was crunch time with the score tied at 19-19. I told the boys that the pressure will be on us. I told them to take it easy and just hold the defensive line,' Serevi said. 'When I saw the ball spilling out of the ruck, I looked at the referee to see what he was doing. I did not want to give away a penalty, but when the referee waved play on, I grabbed the ball and decided to have a go. I knew [Sireli] Bobo was outside me but I didn't want to pass for I was thinking, what if he knocked it on? So I went for the try line. It was about 10 metres, but it looked like 50 to me.' That was the defining moment yesterday. Having seen off England, Fiji then outclassed New Zealand, with their pace and power proving too much for the defending champions to handle. 'I don't think any team had the pace to match Fiji today. We were hit by extreme pace,' Kiwi coach Gordon Tietjens said. 'We were still in with a chance at halftime. But we failed to score first and fell too far behind.' Fiji led 17-7 at the break with tries from Jone Daunivucu, Serevi and Semisi Naevo. New Zealand, who could only reply through Josh Blackie, had been beguiled by their opponents' wizardry. Only a sorcerer could have conjured up the back-flip pass which opened the way for Serevi's try, or the audacious kick across the field to a teammate which led to Naevo's try. That sorcerer was Vili Satala, one of half a dozen players who ply their trade overseas, and brought in by Pivac to beef up the Fijian squad. A couple of bad decisions by Argentina let Fiji off the hook in their quarter-final. Fiji were pushed close with Argentina, having trailed 17-0 after a brace of tries by Vilimoni Delasau and one from Sireli Bobo, coming back to 14-17. With the possibility of a shock win, Argentina was awarded a penalty 40 metres out with about 50 seconds left. Instead of taking the tap penalty, they opted for a kick at goal and the attempt not only fell short, but Bobo collected it and capped off a fine performance with a 90-metre dash to score on the siren, giving give Fiji a 22-14 victory. 'It was a crucial decision whether to play the ball or to kick. It's hard to know right now. It was a very difficult decision to take at the time,' disappointed Argentine coach Hernan Rouco Oliva said. Having seen off Argentina, Fiji were up against England in the semi-final, and here Serevi pulled them back from the edge. On the other side of the draw, New Zealand had defeated an error-prone France 33-7, and then reached their second consecutive World Cup final by beating Australia 24-20. But they were a spent force by then. 'We gave it a crack, but crucial mistakes let us down and let them control the game,' Kiwi captain Liam Messam said. 'It was Fiji's day'. Serevi will have agreed.