England’s World Cup campaign got off to a shaky start with a tightly-fought victory over Argentina, who came third at the 2007 World Cup.
This was always going to be a difficult match and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure England, who were behind for most of the game, deserved to win. Their play was pedestrian and there was no magic on display. Chris Ashton, who displayed regular flashes of brilliance in the Six Nations this year, and centre Manu Tulagi seemed to barely touch the ball and the only real breaks were from full-back Ben Foden and then the try scoring break from Ben Youngs, brought on in the second half to replace Richard Wrigglesworth at scrum-half.
England were heavily penalised in the first half for infringements and this culminated with Dan Cole being sin – binned with five minutes of the first half to go. They’ll have to play with more discipline in the next few matches. England were lucky to escape being punished for all the penalties as Argentina’s kickers struggled to put any points on the board. However, so did England hero Johnny Wilkinson, who missed five successive penalties. That’s not like him at all and the fact that both kickers performed so poorly makes me wonder what conditions were like in the stadium. The roof was closed so there shouldn’t have been any wind, but maybe something else was happening. On the other hand, maybe they just both had an off day with the boot. Wilkinson played well otherwise and was able to get a few kicks over to secure England’s win.