Lapasset accepts defeat with grace French Rugby Union president Bernard Lapasset praised England's match-winner Jonny Wilkinson for stopping Les Bleus in their tracks - four years after he had performed the same trick in the 2003 World Cup semi-final.
Wilkinson's kicking steered the team back to the World Cup final with victory over France in the semi-final in Paris on Saturday night and Lapasset was gracious in defeat, reserving special praise for the star fly-half.
"This match was decided by 10 minutes of brilliance by an exceptional player. Bravo to the English, they deserved their win," said Lapasset.
England's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew knows Wilkinson better than most, having brought him through the ranks at Newcastle.
Andrew believes Wilkinson is mentally tougher now than when he downed France four years ago and then landed the winning drop-goal in the final against Australia to win England the World Cup.
Wilkinson's success rate of 62.5% with the boot at this World Cup is below average and below his own high expectations.
In Saturday's semi final he missed a tough touchline conversion, a penalty attempt from over 50 metres and two drop-goal efforts, one of which rebounded off the post.
Andrew said: "He has probably missed more than he would like to have but he hasn't let that affect him and I think it would have done so much more in the last World Cup than this one.
"He has dusted himself down if he has missed something, got back on with the game and had enormous confidence that he is going to knock the next one over."
Wilkinson's career has stuttered since the 2003 World Cup following a catalogue of injuries.
It has been a frustrating period for both player and country but it gave Wilkinson time to reassess his priorities.
Wilkinson realised he had not enjoyed the experience four years ago and he has been determined to savour the occasion this time around.
"He has changed quite a bit in the last three or four years He is much more relaxed about his own game," said Andrew.
"That is not to say that he does not still work as hard as he ever did but, because of what he has been through in the last three or four years, I think he is much more at ease with himself and his game.
"He missed two against France and then the penalty he kicked from the left-hand touchline in the second half (to make it 8-9 after 47 minutes) was a fantastic kick.
"Then, if you are going to kick a penalty and drop-goal you might as well do it in the last five minutes."
Before landing his first penalty, Wilkinson rejected the ball he had been given for the kick after recognising it was not an official match ball.
Wilkinson had been on the lookout for rogue balls after it emerged he had attempted a kick in last weekend's quarter-final win over Australia with a practice ball.
Andrew insisted today there was no suggestion of skullduggery - but it is not a situation they want repeated in next Saturday's final.
Andrew explained: "A non-match ball got onto the field last night for one of the kicks, which is why Jonny rejected it.
"We didn't say it last week but a non-match ball got onto the field in Marseille, which Jonny kicked and wasn't happy with.
"Jonny was vigilant to ensure they were actually match balls that he was being presented to kick with. We will make sure we have the same vigilance this week."
Wilkinson himself admitted his dreams of playing in the world's biggest games again spurred him on during months sidelined by injuries.
A series of problems meant the Newcastle Falcons fly-half missed more than three years of international rugby after kicking England to a last-gasp World Cup victory in 2003.
However, as he proved in the 14-9 victory over France he has not lost any of his prowess or nervelessness under pressure.
And, Wilkinson admitted, it is all thanks to his renowned determination never to rest on his laurels.
"When I was injured and frustrated at repeated setbacks, the thought of once again experiencing a night like Saturday kept me going," he said. You cannot live in the past and I don't. But everyone has good memories and 2003 has to be there.
"I refused to consider there would be no new experiences like that, no opportunities to be on this stage and part of a squad as tremendous as this one."
And Wilkinson, the last-gasp hero of England's World Cup final win over Australia last time, will attempt to make history with his team-mates on Saturday when they meet South Africa in this year's final, 36 days after losing to them 36-0 in the group stage.