England coach Clive Woodward admitted he was a relieved man after watching his side defeat South Africa in their crucial pool match in Perth.
England were pushed all the way by the Springboks before running out 25-6 winners at the Subiaco Oval.
The score flattered England but Woodward was delighted with a win which means his side is likely to face an easier quarter-final as pool winners.
"It was a huge, huge contest and I am relieved to have won," said Woodward.
"It was a game we had to win and we have done it.
"By our own standards, we weren't anywhere near it, but we've now beaten
South Africa five times in a row.
"We can move on to Melbourne with a smile on our faces."
England captain Martin Johnson praised the way his side handled the intense pressure on them.
"We were big favourites going into the game, but I thought we handled it pretty well," he said.
"It was a tough game and it could have been different if they had kicked their goals in the first half."
Johnson was unconcerned that England had failed to produce much in the way of flowing rugby.
"Our defence was pretty good - we didn't concede a try," he pointed out.
"It might not have been the prettiest, but it's all about winning. We'll be better for having had a real, proper Test match."
Johnson also saluted the impeccable kicking of Jonny Wilkinson, who landed four penalties, two drop goals and a conversion of Will Greenwood's lone try.
"Jonny was fantastic," Johnson added. "His drop-goals kept us away from South Africa in the last few minutes, and what can I say about him
- he's fantastic."