England denied late on by Springboks
Argentina outclassed by All Blacks
Repeat of pool stage victory likely
Argentina v England
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England suffer near miss
England were just minutes away from the reaching the World Cup final but South Africa snatched this out of their grasp in a dramatic semi-final. Steve Borthwick's physical gameplan in the Paris rain gave the Springboks huge problems but the world champions clawed their way back to edge through 16-15, leaving England to face a third-place playoff against Argentina.
Leading 12-6 at half-time, Owen Farrell stretched England's lead with a drop goal to give them a nine-point advantage. South Africa were looking lost but they emptied their bench and crucially managed to gain the upper hand in the scrum. RG Snyman's try gave them hope and a late penalty from replacement fly-half Handre Pollard denied England in an agonising defeat.
Considering the problems facing England heading into the tournament, a semi-final defeat represents progress although they did benefit from playing in the weaker half of the draw. England still pushed the Springboks all the way and were desperately close to reaching back-to-back World Cup finals. Borthwick has brought Marcus Smith back at full-back for their final match and handed another start to Henry Arundell, with the wing scoring five tries in the pool win over Chile.
Argentina did not fare so well in their semi-final with the Pumas trounced by New Zealand. The All Blacks ran in seven tries in their one-sided 44-6 victory on Friday night. Michael Cheika's team simply had no answer to their opponents, with a rematch with pool winners England their consolation.
The teams met in their World Cup opener and England dominated, despite an early red card for Tom Curry, to defeat Argentina 27-10. It was England's 11th victory in their last 12 matches against the Pumas, although their loss during this run came last November at Twickenham.
England are 1.42/5 favourites to win the bronze medal match with Argentina available at 3.711/4. Assuming there is no hangover from their loss to the Springboks, England should finish with a victory. They were too strong in last month's match and a repeat win looks likely.
Their run to the semi-finals was built on their defensive strength and pragmatic kicking strategy, rather than a potent attack. England failed to score a try or even manage a line break against South Africa and have only scored more than 30 points in two of their six matches in France.
A bet on England defeating Argentina with less than 48 points scored stands out at 6/4. Only two of their games have resulted in over 46 points and England can close out their World Cup with another unspectacular win.
Who will win the Rugby World Cup? Latest betting odds
New Zealand are slight favourites after their emphatic semi-final win with the All Blacks 4/51.80 to win the World Cup. Defending champions South Africa are 6/5 to win the tournament again.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster