Old-school England turn a corner – now they must play even better

George Ford's drop goals and a solid defensive display against Argentina needs to be the start of a red rose renaissance

It is amazing the difference one decent result can make. On the train south from Paris on Saturday, the carriages had been packed with pessimistic England fans bracing for more trouble and strife. Suddenly every single one of them is cheerfully contemplating potential quarter-final opponents and daring to believe a rousing red‑rose renaissance is materialising beneath a clear blue Mediterranean sky.

Let's just say that was not the universal mood in the immediate aftermath of Tom Curry's red card when every white-shirted supporter will have had a familiar sinking feeling. World Cups can be shaped fundamentally by the tiniest of misjudgments and here, apparently, was another classic case study. What all concerned, including Argentina, underestimated was England's resolution and desire to stand up and fight rather than bow to the supposedly inevitable.

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