England's bid for a fifth Hong Kong Sevens title in seven years was ended by a narrow 17-12 quarter-final defeat to defending champions Samoa.
Ben Ryan's team had beaten Samoa in four out of five previous meetings in Hong Kong, including in Pool B on day two where they emerged narrow 7-5 victors.
But the Pacific islanders avenged the group defeat to set up a last-four meeting with South Africa, while New Zealand, conquerors of Wales, meet Fiji in the other semi-final.
Ryan questioned the seedings system when England were pitted against Samoa for a second straight game and it was another tight contest.
England went ahead when Ben Gollings' kick resulted in a fortunate bounce deceiving Simaika Mikaele and allowing Bristol's Anthony Elliott to pounce.
But Samoa hit straight back, Mikaele Pesamino finishing in the corner on the overlap. Lolo Lui's conversion was successful to leave England facing a two-point deficit at the break.
But 40 seconds into the second half Gollings made a half break and popped the ball to Andrew Vilk, of Sale, on his shoulder and the captain raced 40 metres to score under the posts.
Gollings' conversion was successful to put England 12-7 up.
Alatasi Tupou wriggled out of a Simon Hunt tackle to touch down but captain Uale Mai dragged his conversion wide as the scores remained level.
Alafoti Fa'osilvia danced down the touchline as Samoa regained the lead with a second score in 90 seconds.
England tried to punch through the middle of the field, but the frantic Samoan defence remained defiant.
And captain Mai launched the ball into touch after the hooter as Samoa set up a semi-final meeting with South Africa, 19-14 winners over Australia.
England coach Ryan was pleased with the performance of his team, which featured five of England's Grand Slam-winning under-20s squad.
“Playing them twice in two days, one score between us, it's hard work,” said Ryan of Samoa.
“I said yesterday, sevens is a knife edge. We came out on the right side yesterday, we didn't today.
“I'm proud of the guys, as I was yesterday. They've come through very quickly.
“We've had very little preparation – only the time in Hong Kong – and there are youngsters out there who are putting their hearts and souls into the England shirt.
“It was a very good performance and a typical Hong Kong quarter-final.”