It has been a difficult summer and Steve Borthwick’s side start the tournament with little in the way of expectation.
No doubt some Red Rose supporters will hold out hope that an opening weekend victory in Marseille could spur England on to great things, however most cannot be blamed for viewing such a belief as dangerously optimistic.
Warm-up defeats to Wales, Ireland and, for the first time ever, Fiji have added to off-field issues and a nagging sense that Borthwick’s team is simply not prepared to mix it with the world’s best at this tournament.
Argentina, the perennial World Cup dark horses, have July’s victory over Australia to give them confidence of topping Pool D along with a narrow defeat to defending champions South Africa. However, they were also freely dismantled by New Zealand.
Coach Michael Cheika has ambitions of at least matching the Pumas’ best-ever runs at the World Cup, which carried them to the semi-finals in both 2007 and 2015.
Date, kick-off time and venue
England vs Argentina takes place on Saturday, September 9 2023, with kick-off at 8pm BST.
The Stade Velodrome in Marseille will host the contest.
Where to watch England vs Argentina
TV channel: In the UK, the game will be live on free-to-air channel ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:15pm.
Live stream: Fans will be able to watch a free live stream online via the ITVX website and app.
Live blog: Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog, with rugby correspondent Nick Purewal at the ground to provide expert analysis.
England vs Argentina team news
Borthwick is without captain Owen Farrell and sole specialist No8 Billy Vunipola due to suspensions having already seen Anthony Watson and Jack van Poortvliet both ruled out for the whole tournament through injury.
England pick Alex Mitchell at scrum-half and Jonny May on the wing to start against Argentina - two players who weren’t even named in the original 33-man World Cup touring squad.
Tom Curry is fit to take his place in the back row as expected in a team skippered by Courtney Lawes, with veteran prop Dan Cole also getting the nod at tighthead and Kyle Sinckler not involved.
George Ford partners Mitchell at half-back with Farrell banned, while Ben Earl deputises for Saracens team-mate Vunipola at the base of the scrum. Elliot Daly is fit to line up on the wing.
Argentina look to be injury free as they head to Marseille, with Leicester hooker and captain Julian Montoya expected to have a big World Cup.
Toulouse’s Juan Cruz Mallia is back at 15, with Cheika naming a 6-2 bench split for Saturday’s showdown.
England vs Argentina lineups
England XV: Steward; May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly; Ford, Mitchell; Genge, George, Cole; Itoje, Chessum; Lawes (c), Curry, Earl
Replacements: Dan, Marler, Stuart, Martin, Ludlam, Care, Smith, Lawrence
Replacements: Creevy, Sclavi, Bello, Petti, Rubiolo, Bruni, Velez, Moroni
England vs Argentina prediction
The Pumas are perhaps the worst type of opponent for England to play in their World Cup opener. Talented, dogged and determined, it will be interesting to see if the Red Rose can lift themselves out of the doldrums.
Even if they can, they may struggle nonetheless and Argentina could prove too ruthless as they seek a statement victory, having also beat England at Twickenham last autumn.
Argentina to win, by over 10 points.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
The South Americans were victorious in these teams’ autumn Test at Twickenham last year, to help avenge their defeat in the 2019 World Cup group stage that ultimately led to their early exit.
England wins: 19
Argentina wins: 5
England vs Argentina latest odds
England to win: 10/11
Argentina to win: 10/11
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).