A gritty Silver Ferns effort has counted for nothing, the New Zealanders losing their final Commonwealth Games netball pool match 54-45 to England.
The world No.2 Kiwis should nevertheless progress through to the last four, but look unlikely to make the gold medal match given their current form.
Patchy pool wins over Uganda, Wales and Scotland were offset by an upset 57-53 loss to Malawi, and Wednesday's final defeat to England.
Who they'll face in the semi-finals will depend on the outcome of Wednesday evening's final pool match between pool A's two unbeaten teams, defending champions Australia and world No.4 Jamaica.
Malawi's last pool B match against Wales is unlikely to have any bearing on final standings, although Uganda could threaten if they beat Scotland by a big enough margin.
The Ferns didn't start well against England, looking indecisive in the attacking third and unsure on the shot, Te Paea Selby-Rickit missing her first three attempts.
But strong work on defence, led by goalkeep Temalisi Fakahokotau, forced some precious turnover ball and the Kiwis were level 12-12 with world No.3 England at the first break.
Two goals in the last minute gave England a 26-24 half-time lead, Jo Harten and Helen Housby missing only three of their 28 attempts while Maria Folau, Selby-Rickit (8/14) and Bailey Mes sunk 24 from 34 for New Zealand.
England upped the ante in the third quarter, winning the spell 14-10 to open out a 40-34 lead at the final break.
The Ferns worked hard in the last quarter, closing the gap to three midway through the spell but couldn't maintain pressure, and fell away in the closing minutes.
New Zealand had the winning of the game, outstanding defensive circle work from Fakahokotau and skipper Katrina Grant generating turnover ball, but their links through the midcourt and at circle edge continued to prove problematic.