The Silver Ferns made a dream start in Liverpool, and England found themselves down 5-nil.
Jane Watson and Casey Kopua poured on the pressure, both coming up with flashy intercepts.
The retiring Kopua, determined to make another World Cup final, pulled off classic blocks and picked off balls outside the circle.
Helen Housby helped get England back into the game, going to post, while GS Jo Harten tried to recover from early nerves. Housby also picked up a couple of key intercepts.
The Silver Ferns led 12-9 after the first quarter.