AUCKLAND (AFP) - New Zealand's relentless pressure and masterly forwards overwhelmed Australia in a brutal 20-6 semi-final win at Eden Park on Sunday to put them in sight of a first World Cup triumph in 24 years. The All Blacks will be overwhelming favourites when they return here next weekend to play in a rematch of the inaugural 1987 World Cup final against France, also at Eden Park, which New Zealand won 29-9. And New Zealand have already beaten France once at this World Cup, winning a pool match 37-17. The Australians came off second best in the physical and tactical exchanges in the intimidating atmosphere of the All Blacks' Eden Park fortress, where the Wallabies haven't won since 1986. The Tri-Nations champions were bloodied and beaten in every aspect by a ferocious New Zealand onslaught, that saw the hosts dominate from the opening kickoff and flustering the Wallabies into a multitude of errors. Dynamic New Zealand ended a tense week of concerns over the fitness of captain Richie McCaw as they proved far too good for the Australians. "It was awesome," flanker McCaw said. "We realised we were going to have to front up and we had to be on the job for 80 minutes. Every single man did their best out there," he added after New Zealand reached their first World Cup final since 1995. For New Zealand coach Graham Henry the win was especially sweet after he survived calls to be sacked and replaced by Kiwi Robbie Deans, now in charge of Australia, following the All Blacks' quarter-final defeat by France four years ago -- their worst World Cup showing. "They were fabulous, weren't they?", Henry said of his side. "They showed huge character. From minute to minute they gave 100 (percent), they gave everything, they were just outstanding." Henry, asked what was behind the victory, replied: "Four years of planning, I suppose. Four years of guys being frustrated and wanting to do the job, four years of trying to get things right." Australia captain James Horwill said his team had been outplayed in a match where they failed to score a try. "It's really disappointing. We probably needed to improve on a couple of areas but credit to the All Blacks, they deserved to win." The Wallabies now have to console themselves with a bronze final with Wales on Friday -- a repeat of the 1987 third place playoff. Australia's scattergun playmaker Quade Cooper endured another shaky night and he as guilty of taking several wrong options, much to the roaring approval of the 60,000 capacity crowd. New Zealand had all the ball in the opening six minutes before Israel Dagg sliced past Anthony Fainga'a and Rocky Elsom to send Ma'a Nonu storming over for the only try of the game.