England captain Charlotte Edwards said she was "heartbroken" after the defending champions failed to reach the final of the Women's World Cup.
England beat New Zealand by 15 runs in their last Super Six match, but West Indies' victory over Australia meant they could not qualify for the final.
"I'm proud of the way we've ended this match, but bitterly disappointed in the grander scheme," said Edwards.
"It's our own fault. Inconsistency at the start of the World Cup cost us."
Edwards was referring a one-wicket opening loss to Sri Lanka in the group stages and a two-run defeat against Australia in the Super Sixes.
Those results meant England needed Australia to beat West Indies to have any chance of avoiding an early exit.
However, all hopes were dashed when, midway through the first innings of their match against the Kiwis, news filtered through that Australia had lost their final six wickets for 26 runs to slump to an eight-run defeat against the Windies.
It meant both England and New Zealand were eliminated and Edwards said: "I was stood at the non-striker's end and the big screen flashed but I didn't take any notice of it.
"The Kiwis were having a look and I just presumed Australia had won. The Kiwis told me they hadn't, but I wanted to have another look and it didn't flash up again so a message was sent out to me.
"It was heartbreaking but we had to get on with the game."
England recovered from the disappointment to post 266-6 - Edwards hitting 54 and Sarah Taylor scoring a sparkling 88 - before restricting the Kiwis to 251-9.
Taylor won the player-of-the-match award for her 79-ball knock, which came on the back of three consecutive ducks.
"I said to Sarah in training that she would get dropped on nought and get five overthrows and both happened today so she thinks I am bit of a mind-reader," said Edwards.
"She couldn't go for too long without scoring and you just need a little bit of luck. She showed why she is one of the best players in the world.
"Sarah makes it look quite easy at times, she played fantastically and took the game away from New Zealand in the middle phase. She and the bowlers were big reasons why we won the game today."
England will play New Zealand again in Friday's third-place play-off and Edwards is hoping to finish the tournament with a victory.
"We want to end the tournament on a high," added Edwards. "We are playing our best cricket now.
"The games we have lost have been close and it's heartbreaking but we are a strong lot, full of character, and we will bounce back."