WATCH: England head to the quarters with a 39-10 victory against Argentina in RWC 2019
Pool C toppers England took on Argentina in Tokyo.
Both teams came into the game with victories over USA and Tonga respectively. Victory for England would have seen them through to the quarterfinals. As for Argentina, they've lost all nine their prior Test matches against England and were hoping for an upset in just their third Rugby World Cup clash against the English.
And so with an effervescent atmosphere stirred by the enthusiastic Argentina aficionados for company, the game kicked off.
Five minutes in and England were penalised following a no-arms tackle by Kyle Sinckler. Benjamin Urdapilleta converted to put three points on the board and give Los Pumas an early lead.
England 39-10 Argentina: Watch highlights below
Two minutes later and England fought back with a clinical try – George Ford laid on a lovely pass for Jonny May who got away to get it over the line. Owen Farrell missed the resulting conversion for a score of 5-3 to England.
17 minutes in and Los Pumas found themselves a man down after Tomas Lavanini was found guilty of a crunching tackle on Farrell; referee Nigel Owens had no choice but to dish out the red card.
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) October 5, 2019
With five minutes to go in the first half, England landed their second try of the game courtesy of Elliot Daly who grabbed the ball before accelerating through a gap to score. Farrell converted for a score of 10-3.
And then with seconds left in the first half, Ben Youngs garnered another try for the English after going past Javier Ortega Desio. Farrell missed his conversion as the halftime scoreline read 15-3 to England.
Halftime stats reflected England's dominance over the match with 64% possession and 234 metres made compared to Argentina's 91 metres.
The second half kicked on and England pulled away just five minutes after the restart with another try. George Ford slipped through a gap in the Argentine defence to score with a diver. Farrell poked in the resulting conversion as England scooped up the bonus point.
52 minutes in and England had a penalty shot at the posts as Argentina were found to be offside. Farrell gathered up the three points for a score of 25-3.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Los Pumas made their imprint on the scoreline with their first try as Matias Moroni ducked under the posts to score following a line out.
73 minutes in and Jack Nowell smacked through a group of Argentine players to score with a diving finish in the corner. With Farrell's resulting conversion, 32-10 the score stood to England.
In the 80th minute and with the game ebbing to a close, England finished with a flurry as Luke Cowan-Dickie scored with a shove-over try. Farrell converted for a final score of 39-10.
3 - Luke Cowan-Dickie has scored a try in each of his three Rugby World Cup games, only Will Greenwood has scored in more consecutive games at the tournament for England (4 in 2003). Streak.#RWC2019 #ENGvARG pic.twitter.com/uHAYK3bq2m
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) October 5, 2019
And so it finished in Tokyo with England engineering their third win from as many games and qualifying for the quarterfinals in the process. The English put up a disciplined and professional performance conceding only seven penalties and keeping the Argentines under control; they will be confident heading into their final pool game against France.
England captain Owen Farrell spoke to the BBC post-game:
"It was scrappy at times, I thought there was a decent amount of control, but it got frantic at times and Argentina got back in but our pressure told in the end. The bench was great, but it is not just them. The full 31-man squad has been outstanding so far."
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma also spoke:
"Well, obviously after the red card it became really hard. We made many easy mistakes that we could have avoided, especially in the second half. We couldn't build momentum and we were with a guy less."
Los Pumas fought hard but the red card for Lavanini effectively gifted the game to their opponents, they will bow out of the tournament with a final clash against the USA.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 5, 2019