George Ford kicked all of their points in a remarkably dominant 27-10 beatdown of the dreadful Pumas that came despite Tom Curry seeing his early yellow card for head-on-head contact with Juan Cruz Mallia upgraded to red following a bunker review.
England were better in all facets of the game after quickly bouncing back from that nightmare start with aplomb, racking up penalty after penalty as Ford kept his unerring accuracy from the tee following three quick-fire drop goals that were successfully executed in the space of just seven first-half minutes.
Standard Sport’s rugby correspondent Nick Purewal was at the Stade Velodrome to rate the England players on a massive night for Steve Borthwick.
Freddie Steward – 7
Rock solid in every aspect, and crucially back to his best under the high ball.
Jonny May – 7
Unable to make any inroads with ball in hand but totally on point with his kick chase which was vital to victory.
Joe Marchant – 7
Again unable to tuck in on the front foot but was solid in defence and reliable throughout.
Manu Tuilagi – 8
This was Tuilagi’s best performance in years and comes at just the right time for an England side so dependent on his power game.
Elliot Daly – 7
Inexplicably opted for the grubber kick on one attack where a try was odds-on if the ball stayed in the hands, but still shone off the ball.
George Ford – 9
The best individual performance by any player in Steve Borthwick’s nascent England tenure and the showing that has given lift-off to this Test group.
Alex Mitchell – 8
Fully vindicated his selection with super-accurate kicking and always offered a threat to snipe at the defence or accelerate the attacking rhythm.
Ellis Genge – 7
A major step in the right direction for one of England’s emotional totems. Angrily smashed his boot on the turf at one point and that fury is exactly what England need.
Jamie George – 8
A masterful turn from the captain who is not the captain. George bossed the lineout and the scrum and was busy around the field throughout.
Dan Cole – 8
Selected to thwart Argentina’s scrummaging threat and delivered in spades. Softened the Pumas up for Will Stuart’s second-half arrival.
Maro Itoje – 9
His best performance in years and completely vindicates him pledging to deliver in this match.
Ollie Chessum – 8
Showed no signs of rust after his long-term injury, ripping into Argentina from the off with major intensity and focus.
Courtney Lawes – 9
A tone-setting turn from a man it is so easy to follow and who knows how to lead by the best of examples. Breakdown supremacy just the tip of a brutal, relentless iceberg.
Tom Curry – 6
Unable to make any impact due to the red card, which is unfortunate even if warranted. Players simply have to change their body positions.
Ben Earl – 8
Perhaps his best showing in an England shirt and transferred his Saracens form into the Test team.
Theo Dan (for George, 71) – 7
A deserved cameo for the young Saracen, who boasts so much potential,
Joe Marler (for Genge, 52) – 8
Extended the scrum dominance and steered England home at the death.
Will Stuart (for Cole, 49) – 8
Picked up where Cole left off, as England completely dominated Argentina at the set-piece.
George Martin (for Chessum, 58) – 7
A very tidy showing for the Leicester hardman, in another display of exactly what he can offer at Test level.
Lewis Ludlam (for Lawes, 65) – 7
Delivered for Borthwick in an all-action showing that ensured England started their World Cup in the best possible fashion.
Danny Care (for Mitchell, 62) – 7
So quick to snipe around the fringes to drive the final nails into Argentina’s coffin.
Marcus Smith (for Ford, 77) – 7
Preciously little to do but he did it with trademark panache.
Ollie Lawrence (for Tuilagi, 68) – 7
Kept busy and threw himself into every challenge and skirmish.