SIR CLIVE WOODWARD'S WARNING: It worries me that England have already been anointed champions – the World Cup final will be a dogfightAfter England dominated New Zealand many think they will breeze to victory But South Africa are formidable and have great togetherness in their camp The World Cup is littered with teams who failed to back up a huge performance Eddie Jones is aware of the pitfalls and Saturday's final could be incredibly close By Sir Clive Woodward for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:02 GMT, 31 October 2019 | Updated: 22:03 GMT, 31 October 2019
Hang on to your hats, cross your fingers, dig out your good luck charms and say a little prayer — this one's going to be very close indeed!
Just about everybody in Japan and around the rugby world have been lavish in praise of England after the New Zealand game and seem to have already anointed Eddie Jones's team as world champions.
That really worries me. Sport just doesn't work like that. In a knockout tournament, your last game counts for nothing.
England have to find the energy to go again after emptying the tank against New Zealand
It counted for nothing in 1987 when France recorded a memorable semi-final win over Australia only to misfire badly a week later in the final against New Zealand.
It was irrelevant in 1995 when New Zealand thrashed England only to lose to South Africa. And in 1999 it was exactly the same when the French again produced rugby from the Gods against the All Blacks only to implode a week later against Australia.
Eddie knows this better than anybody. His Aussie team produced a memorable semi-final against the All Blacks in 2003 only to lose to us a week later.
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