Fly-Half Ford took all of England’s points and steered his team so well through the Stade Velodrome that Steve Borthwick’s men easily absorbed Tom Curry’s red card in less than three minutes.
Curry’s yellow card was converted to red for a head-to-head contact with Argentina full-back Juan Cruz Mallia, but England delivered a strong and commanding performance to smother the dangerous Pumas.
Sale star Ford scored three drop goals in seven minutes of the first half, which ultimately ended the Argentine dispute. The 30-year-old gave a stunning performance as South Africa’s Jannie de Beer set a World Cup record five drop goals in the Springboks’ 44-21 quarter-final win over England in 1999.
England returned to the future for their game plan in France’s second city, all with high bombs and punts to the corner. When the Red Rose men actually tried to attack broadly, their approach failed again.
But all the rusty and flawed performances of August vanished amidst a muscular Marseille masterclass in stick-first rugby. Ford capped a remarkable evening with six penalties and three drop goals that completely destroyed Michael Cheika’s Argentina.
When De Beer scored South Africa’s record five drop goals in 1999, Ollie Chessum, Freddie Stewart, George Martin and Theo Dan weren’t even born.
Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence were little more than newborns, while Westlife’s ‘Flying Without Wings’ hit number one in the UK.
England were in free fall without a wing last month, suffering three defeats in four warm-up games, but now Borthwick’s men are sailing back towards the sun of southern France.
Borthwick’s men can now look forward to a quarter-final if they can maintain this standard. Beat Japan in Nice next weekend and Pool D will be theirs.
England still can’t solve the mystery behind attacking in defence, but who cares when they can position themselves to score repeated threes.
England’s ability to create chances remains fractured, but there’s simply no need to fix it at the moment. Captain Owen Farrell will be available again for the third group game against Chile. However, based on this evidence, Ford has to stay with 10 in the bag.
Captain Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje and Ben Earl were all exceptional and contributed to Ford’s game-winning play. England’s scrum was rock solid and the line-out was back to its best.
England’s night began in disaster. Just two minutes later, Curry butted heads with Mallia and was sent to sin for his troubles. When his card was later upgraded to red by the bunker review, England’s difficult task became a nightmare.
Emiliano Boffelli sank a penalty from distance to steal the Pumas’ 3-0 lead and put England in their place. The Argentine wing missed with another shot on target, however, and then Cheika’s men lost Santiago Carreras to an unnecessary yellow card.
Choosing not to get out of a charge, the Gloucester fly-half rattled Ford. Perhaps he was lucky not to blush himself. Ford quickly equalized with a penalty of his own, but then came the confirmation of Curry’s red.
England finally put some phase games together – only for Elliot Daly to pull off a strange grubber kick. With men around him and space on the edge of the 22, it was nothing but wasteful.
Argentina then also squandered their best platform of the half by missing a shot on goal for a penalty – only to be turned over by a monster stealer from Lawes.
But then came England’s drop-goal moments. Ford delivered three great tries from his own pocket in just seven minutes.
Daly even managed to miss a penalty from long range amid Ford’s barrage, but in a flash England were 12-3 up and somehow out of danger.
Santiago Carreras himself missed a quick drop-goal shot amid the whirlwind, and England even managed to butcher a five-on-two overlap on the edge of Argentina’s 22.
However, Borthwick’s men still held a 12-3 lead and capitalized on that lead until half-time. England continued their aerial attack after the break and Ford also continued his flawless shot towards the goal.
The Sale star scored three more penalties in the third quarter to put England virtually out of sight with a 21-3 lead after an hour. Daly missed a second long-range shot on target as England tried to turn the screw even further.
Ford added two more penalties as England destroyed their Argentinian opponents, most notably at the breakdown. Rodrigo Bruni grabbed a consolation goal as Argentina died, meaning the Pumas secured their only try of the evening.
Boffelli converted to level the score but England were out of sight – already plotting their route to the knockout rounds.
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/rugby/england-argentina-result-rugby-world-cup-george-ford-b1106003.html England 27-10 Argentina: George Ford leads 14 men to dominant World Cup victory after Tom Curry sees red