From our special correspondent at the Stade de France – England won the World Cup final against Argentina (26-23) on Friday at the Stade de France. Too inconsistent, the Pumas never managed to get their hands on this meeting. Moribund before this World Cup, the English finished it with a bronze medal around their neck which gave them hope for the future.
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Seven weeks later, the reunion between Argentina and England in this World Cup took place in a very different setting. The two teams, who had faced each other in a group match in Marseille during a beautiful summer evening, this time challenged each other in the humidity and coolness at the Stade France, Friday October 27, to compete in the small final of this World Cup. But the name of the winner did not change, England winning third place in this competition (26-23).
For this meeting, the English had chosen to make eight changes compared to the team beaten in the semi-final by South Africa (15-16), compared to only three for the Argentines wishing to wash away the insult of their inaugural defeat against England (10-27) and to finish, as in 2007, on the podium of the World Cup.
Their plans came up against a dominant and enterprising XV de la Rose in the first quarter of an hour who scored 13 points thanks to two penalties and a try from third line center Ben Earl. The Argentines suffered in conquest and were unable to carry out their offensive actions. There are many mistakes and this little finale lacks rhythm.
The public, mostly favorable to the Pumas, has few opportunities to get excited. He wakes up at 36e minute on a great Argentinian offensive in the English camp. The forwards pounded and scrum-half Tomas Cubelli managed to cross the line to bring the Argentines to 8-16, before Emiliano Boffelli’s successful conversion.
Pumas too messy
The start of the second period saw the Argentines quickly return to the game, after a good try from fly-half Santiago Carreras who played against the English defense. Boffelli ensures the transformation and the Argentines lead for the first time in this meeting (17-16).
They remained in front for less than two minutes, the same Carreras being blocked in his 22 meters by the young hooker Theo Dan who scored a try between the posts, with a successful transformation by Owen Farrell (23-17).
The Pumas did not give up and quickly reinvested the English camp. They are paid for their efforts by a penalty passed by Boffelli (23-20). The “Argentina Argentina” come down from the stands to carry them in this last half hour of play. Messy and clumsy, they however waste good ammunition and allow the English to stay in front.
The Argentine management chooses to bring experienced players onto the field, such as hooker Agustin Creevy who, at 38 years and 7 months, honored his 108th selection in the Pumas jersey. Another veteran stood out ten minutes after his entry into play, Nicolas Sanchez, by bringing the Argentinians to 3 points in the 67th minute (26-23).
This same Sanchez had the opportunity to allow the Argentinians to equalize in the 75th minute, on a penalty along the sidelines. But the ball goes past the poles. And despite the Argentinian fury during the last five minutes, the score will no longer change. The English won 26 to 23, thus concluding this 2023 edition with an almost unexpected bronze medal. Few observers actually believed in this XV de la Rose mishandled this year in the Six Nations Tournament. But England hung on and are, as in 2019, the highest ranked European team in the World Cup.