New Zealand head coach Ian Foster praised his side’s “brilliant” defence for holding out Ireland in the final stages of their thrilling World Cup quarter-final in Paris.
Ireland went through 37 phases in search of a game-winning try before Sam Whitelock won a penalty in injury time.
The All Blacks now face Argentina in Friday’s semi-final in Paris.
“I am so proud of the way we played. Our defence, particularly in that last part, was brilliant,” said Foster.
“I thought we were really good. We were disciplined, we held our cool. I thought defensively we made some shifts and found a way of stopping their line breaks coming to us.”
Six Nations champions Ireland topped Pool B after beating the likes of South Africa and Scotland and were on a 17-match winning run.
Andy Farrell’s world number one side never led the game in Paris but came closest in the closing stages when replacement hooker Ronan Kelleher was held up over the tryline by Jordie Barrett.
This came before the final Irish onslaught in which New Zealand’s defence held firm.
“I actually felt quite calm, to be honest. They were going with a cut-and-paste attack, doing the same sort of things,” Foster added.
He highlighted the work of assistant coaches Scott McLeod and former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt in his team’s run to the last four.
“With Scott and Joe we have been building our system for today and how we want to defend,” he said. “We are making some strides in that space and I was delighted.
“We all knew it was going to be a monster game – we had been talking about it all week – and it was. It was a real arm wrestle.”
New Zealand captain Sam Cane, who had only started one game at the competition before the match because of injury, topped the tackle stats for his side with 21.
His superb performance was underlined by a covering tackle on Hugo Keenan as the full-back broke through the All Black line.
“Our ability to defend our line for 30-plus phases at the end, that’s huge,” Cane said.
“What an atmosphere, what a game, what a tournament to be part of and I’m just really happy to have another week.
“A lot of credit has to go to Ireland. They have set the standard round world rugby for the last couple of years so we knew the challenge that we had here tonight.”
Foster’s side are now aiming to become the first side to win the World Cup four times and only the second side after South Africa in 2019 to win it after losing their opening game of the tournament.