Though England's 2003 victory Down Under remains the defining moment in their World Cup history, in general England have a good World Cup pedigree.
Since the inaugural tournament in 1987 England have reached three finals out of six including the victorious campaign in 2003, and have never been eliminated before the quarter-final stage.
Their 1987 tournament ended in dismal defeat to Wales in the quarter-finals, a game which England had been so confident of winning that they had already booked accommodation for the semi-finals.
In 1991 England were World Cup hosts, and enjoyed a relatively easy passage to the final, seeing off France and Scotland, before facing Australia at Twickenham. A controversial incident in which David Campese knocked on to deny England a try marred the final, which the Wallabies won 12-6.
The major story of 1995 was the semi-final between England and New Zealand, when Jonah Lomu burst onto the international scene, scoring four tries in the All Blacks’ 45-29 win. Shell-shocked from that mauling, England lost the third/fourth place playoff to France
Defeat at the quarter-final stage to South Africa in 1999 signalled the start of a rebuilding process, with progressive coach Clive Woodward at the helm. Four years later, following a fine campaign in Australia, in which England dispatched all-comers, including Uruguay by a record 111-13 scoreline, Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in the last minute of extra-time handed England their first victory world title.
In 2007 they almost repeated the trick. Starting poorly with an unconvincing win over the USA and a 36-0 defeat to South Africa, England picked up dramatically and reached the final after a famous win over hosts France in Paris. They again faced South Africa in the final, but were undone by the boot of Percy Montgomery, losing 15-6.
England 30-man squad for the 2011 World Cup:
Backs: Delon Armitage (London Irish), Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Matt Banahan (Bath), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Shontayne Hape (London Irish), Joe Simpson (Wasps), Mike Tindall (Gloucester), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Forwards: Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lee Mears (Bath), Lewis Moody (Bath), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Simon Shaw (Unattached), Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Steve Thompson (Wasps), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
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