It is a well worn cliché that France are unpredictable, sometimes uninterested and able to interchange between magical and dreadful with alarming ease. But they proved it in the 2019 Six Nations and they proved it again in their opening World Cup match against Argentina. It took a drop goal from replacement Camille Lopez to see them over the line.
France defeated Argentina 23-21 in Tokyo to raise their chances of qualification from Rugby World Cup Pool C.
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) September 21, 2019
Argentina comeback falls short
We nearly had a Rugby World Cup record broken on day two. With France 20 points to three ahead at half time, Argentina required a record breaking comeback to win. Second half tries from Guido Petti and Julian Montoya nearly did it for them, as well as a nerveless penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta.
As it is, Romania hold the title for biggest World Cup comeback after they overturned a 15-0 deficit in 2015. Argentina do still retain the record for the biggest halftime comeback, when they beat Samoa in 1999 from 16-3 down.
Camille Lopez the french hero
It was a World Cup debut to remember for fly half Camille Lopez. He came off the bench to replace youngster Romain Ntamack and his kick won the match.
Ntamack had not long earlier missed a relatively simple penalty to ruin his 100% record off the tee. Jacques Brunel named several experienced heads on the bench and it paid off here. Who knows if Ntamack would have been able to nail the drop goal?
France looking to quarter final
This match, if other matches in the pool go to form, was effectively an early knockout match. Therefore France have landed an important blow to Argentina’s hopes. But they can’t be complacent. They were beaten by Tonga in 2011 and will play the Ikale Tahi on the 6th October.
Les Bleus now have the opportunity to top the pool in what should be a winner takes all decider against England. There are many more matches that can alter this scenario but this will be the focus for France.
France can take a lot of positives, from the first half at least, including the way they came back immediately to land the match-winning drop goal. However Argentina need to pick themselves up from a tenth successive defeat and amass as many points as possible to try and qualify.
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