New Zealand coach Steve Hansen praised England following their 38-21 victory over his side at Twickenham on Saturday.
The All Blacks recovered from a virus picked up in mid-week but were second best against England at Twickenham, but Hansen remained proud of his players for a fantastic year.
"England should be very proud of what they achieved," he said.
"We tested them and they responded. I know we've fallen over today but eventually our boys should reflect on what happened this year and be proud of what they've achieved.
"Dan [Carter] trained and kicked well, although he missed a couple that normally you would think he'd get. I don't think you can use his injury as an excuse, we just got beaten by a better side.
"I find it interesting that everyone is surprised. This is a good England side and people should back them. It won't be plain sailing all the time and if you back them, they will get better.
"Two teams were capable of winning the Rugby World Cup out there. We will go away and work out where we can get better.
England captain Richie McCaw ruled out that the bug New Zealand picked up in the week had an effect, stating that despite the loss the All Blacks should be proud of what they have achieved in 2012.
"I don't think the sickness was a factor," he revealed.
"I felt fine in that department. They kept the scoreboard ticking over and apart from that period when we scored we were on the back foot."
McCaw is now set to take a six-month sabbatical from the sport and admitted his frustration at going out on a losing note.
"It's going to be disappointing there's no doubt," he said.
"But you can't do anything about it right now and when the boys do get over it, we'll come back next year and there will be something to remind us what it's all about, which is a small positive for next year. Once you get past today, it hasn't been a bad year.
"England will get better from this experience and they're going to be a good team. The more you play the more you understand what it takes to win consistently."