England have rarely gone into a competition as such underdogs, and it’s even more surprising considering they reached the final of the last Rugby World Cup in Japan four years ago, but the levels of optimism have never been lower before their opening game against Argentina.
While the tag of underdogs might do them some favours, under Steve Borthwick - who took charge of his first match in February - England have struggled. They have won just two of their nine fixtures in 2023, and in the summer nations series, both failed to sell out Twickenham, and failed to beat Fiji.
FOLLOW LIVE - Rugby World Cup 2023: Coverage of England vs Argentina
England have moved out of the spotlight and across the channel, to their base at Le Touquet in northern France in a hope that will rejuvinate a squad who conceded 30 tries in their last nine matches, including 12 in the competition warm-up clashes.
The fans will be hoping England can push on from their poor year and perform on the highest stage, starting off against Argentina.
When is England vs Argentina?
England take on Argentina in their first Rugby World Cup match of Pool D on Saturday 9 September at 8pm BST at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.
Where can I watch it?
The game will be shown live on ITV1 and streaming platform ITVX website and app, with coverage starting at 6.45pm BST.
What is the team news?
England surprisingly selected Alex Mitchell at scrum half for the opening match. Mitchell was not in the original 33-man squad for the tournament, but was called up following an injury to Jack van Poortvliet. The huge call by Steve Borthwick sees the experienced Danny Care start on the bench with Ben Youngs not in the matchday squad.
Winger Jonny May is in a similar situation, having been a late call-up after Anthony Watson’s injury but now starting in the back three, while George Ford is handed the fly-half shirt in the absence of Owen Farrell and Ben Earl fills in at No 8 for the suspended Billy Vunipola, with Tom Curry fit again to take his place at openside flanker.
Argentina’s Juan Cruz Mallia returns at full back to face England and will be the back-up fly half option as coach Michael Cheika opts for six forwards on the bench. The versatile Mallia is part of a back three with goal-kicker Emiliano Boffelli and Mateo Carreras on the wings and a powerful midfield of Santiago Chocobares and Lucio Cinti, while Santiago Carreras and Gonzalo Bertranou are his preferred half-back pairing.
England XV: Freddie Steward, Jonny May, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Alex Mitchell, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl
Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, George Martin, Lewis Ludlam, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence
Argentina XV: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya, Thomas Gallo
Replacements: Augustin Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti, Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Matias Moroni
Odds and tips
Latest match odds and tips.
It will be a close-fought game, but there will be tries scored on both sides and England will just come out on top. England 18-15 Argentina.