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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2007, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
England v France as it happened
FT: England 14-9 France


By Sam Lyon

To get involved in all the match chat, text us on 81111 (UK users only) or contribute to 606

"Scenes of utter delirium in the Stade de France - England fans can't believe they're in the final. With 20 minutes to go they almost chewed off their own hands with nerves. Now we'll see the biggest English party going this side of Sydney four years ago."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Paris

Matt Dawson
"I'm just so pleased, proud and honoured to have been able to sit and watch such a dogged, determined and ugly performance from that England side. After four miserable years they have come from nowhere and have produced two magnificent hard-core, professional, precise and gutsy performances."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

"This is a fairy tale. Poor Cinderella with rag clothes all the last four years squeezed in the final ball."
LatvianAllBlacksFan on 606

Jonny Wilkinson kicks the match-sealing drop-goal in the Stade de France
Jonny Wilkinson kicks the match-sealing drop-goal in the Stade de France

80 mins: FULL-TIME England 14-9 France
France set up ruck after ruck but England's defence holds strong. The hosts recycle the ball time after time, and again England's defence stretches every sinew time after time...And that's it! A huge hit from the defence ends with a France spill and England have done it again! They are in the final - what a result for Brian Ashton's men.

79 mins: Here we go - England so close! France look to press the try line through Elissalde but a high pass to Dominci is knocked forward and England eat up yet more valuable seconds... a fine kick from Toby Flood finds touch and England need only repel one more attack.

78 mins: DROP-GOAL England 14-9 France
England's pack take over to stunning effect, rolling maul after rolling maul eats up minute after minute, and Jonny Wilkinson lurks with intent throughout. The second the maul collapses it goes back to the fly-half and he makes no mistake with a superb drop. England lead by five...

76 mins: Brilliant defence from Toby Flood and Paul Sackey as they close out Chabal on the touchline. It looks like it'll be an England line-out, but Brian Ashton's men get the penalty after Elissalde is punished for an elbow in the tackle.

Matt Dawson
"England showed last week against Australia they can play shut-out rugby - and they did it for a lot longer than five minutes in Marseille."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

75 mins: PEN England 11-9 France
Great work from Robinson again and it ends with a high tackle from the replacement hooker Szarzewski to gift England a penalty in front 30 metres out...

Jonny Wilkinson makes no mistake and England are in front with around five minutes left...

73 mins: Not good for England... Jason Robinson's half-break as he runs back a French kick ends with the pass to Toby Flood, but the replacement's drop-goal attempt is shocking and it's a home drop-out.

Matt Dawson
"If the game carries on this way, England will steal it, I'm telling you, they will steal it. Stay patient England, stay patient."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

71 mins: Breathers all round - my how the players must need it in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the Stade de France - as Jonny Wilkinson and Jerome Thion receive treatment on the floor. Both are fine and we are getting right into the business end of the match now.

"C'mon lads you can do it! We are the world champions."
Renzo_23 on 606

70 mins: Gomarsall is laid out by the touch judge saving another tricky situation... he has to come off, Peter Richards comes on.

69 mins: Unbelievable! France look certain to score as Bonnaire taps back from the line off Jauzion's cross-kick to Vincent Clerc, who has the try line at his mercy, but a sensational tap-tackle from Joe Worsley stops a certain five-pointer. It ends with a five-metre scrum, can England use that as a turn-around? Toby Flood comes on for Catt.

And the defence is completed by Worsley again! The replacement snaffling the loose ball to give England the penalty and can that resistance of the French surge turn things England's way? Dallaglio comes on for Easter to see if he push this on...

67 mins: Harinodoquy comes on for Betsen in the French back row.

66 mins: Superb rolling maul from France, the forwards forcing their way 10 metres towards the English line, but Michalak's kick ahead is recovered brilliantly by Mathew Tait and a tricky position for England is salvaged.

65 mins: A promising break from England, with Simon Shaw striding down the right wing, ends when he loses it in the tackle and a brilliant Traille kick ends with Robinson slicing his clearance wide. France respond bringin Poux for De Villiers, while Chuter comes on for Regan for England.

"This is agony, sitting in Boston airport following it on my laptop."
mwkeeper on 606

63 mins: Silly from Stevens - the substitute trying to play the ball off the floor and all of a sudden France have a line-out 25 metres from the England line. Andy Sheridan turns the ball over in the tackle on Elissalde, though, and a sustained break ends with a drop-out for Wilko on the 22.

61 mins: Dominici comes on for Heymans on the French left wing.

60 mins: So close! Brilliant handling in the tackle across the England back-line and Mathew Tait's half-break ends with a drop-kick attempt from Jonny Wilkinson - but the fly-half's ugly attempt flies back off the upright.

The return kick finds Robinson, who dances round four tackles with a sensational run, but he is held up and France win the penalty for holding on in the tackle.

Matt Dawson
"All the action is happening between the two 10-metre lines because neither side want to play near their own try line. It means it's a tennis match of kicking right now."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

56 mins: More good defence from Gomarsall sees England turn over the ball and it yields a line-out 40 metres out. Mark Regan is turned over, though, and France get the advantage. Matt Stevens comes on for Vickery - and you would've thought Chuter for Regan is not too far away...

54 mins: Joe Worsley comes in for Lewis Moody. Bit of a surprise that...

52 mins: Brilliant read from Gomarsall - the scrum-half reading Vincent Clerc's chip to the corner and he punches it dead with Jauzion and Traille breathing down his neck. Scrum five metres out, though...

It comes to nothing... despite Elissalde's magical reverse-pass... as Michalak's drop-goal flies woefully wide.

51 mins: A poor piece of defence under the long kick from Mathew Tait, but he is rescued by Jonny Wilkinson's boot as the fly-half finds touch 30 metres out. France replace Ibanez and Beauxis with Szarzewski and Michalak.

50 mins: As my esteemed rugby editor points out - it's just the little things that are letting England down at the moment. Mike Catt's pass to Corry is forward 10 metres inside his own half and France will have the put-in to the scrum in a dangerous position.

49 mins: The first truly audible choruses of 'Swing Low' ring out, but Andy Gomarsall's pressure kick drifts just past the French touchline and it'll be a drop-out on the 22.

48 mins: PEN England 8-9 France
Lewis Moody charges down a grubber kick from Jauzion and it's a fantastic break from Dan Hipkiss. His pass is helped on by Mike Catt and Mathew Tait gets to within a couple of yards of the line before he is held up. The ball is spun back inside, though, and good play from Ben Kay and Hipkiss again brings its reward as England earn the penalty after a French forward comes in on the side of the ruck.

Jonny Wilkinson registers his first successful kick of the match to get England back into it.

"The French backs look more dangerous than England's, and the pack are managing to cope with the bigger English pack. I think the French will start to eek out a bigger lead over next 20 mins."
kinsang on 606

44 mins: PEN England 5-9 France
More ill-discipline from England hands France the penalty. Wilkinson's fine tackle on Beauxis is tempered as Nick Easter comes in from the side and Beauxis picks himself up to kick the three.

43 mins: Decent half-break from England but a potential overlap is wasted when a poor Jonny Wilkinson pass is spilled off his toes by Phil Vickery. The England skipper might have done his hamstring there...

41 mins: Jonny Wilkinson's kick is recovered well by the forward line and Lewis Moody drives forward well. Near disaster after Paul Sackey is hit big in the tackle and the French backs smash the ball forward into a gaping hole in the England defence. Heymans flies down the wing but Hipkiss saves well and England clear.

"I can see England losing this unless we start running at them more."
davesmitho on 606

"It is a huge blow losing Lewsey! I'm not sure Hipkiss has what it takes at this level... Prove me wrong please!"
Adam, York via text

"Certainly not a game for the neutral - the All Black and Aussie fans in the ground must be crying into their non-alcoholic lager."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

Matt Dawson
"England allowed France back into the game too quickly with a cheap penalty - the early try did not have the devastating effect it could have done had they kept it tight for a while. Now, if I were Bernard Laporte, I'd keep the drop-goals to a minimum, but keep kicking deep to keep England under pressure. For England - I guess it's more of the same and hope that the breaks come."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

40 mins: HALF-TIME England 5-6 France
A brief glimpse of a drop-goal opportunity is wasted as a pass towards Jason Robinson goes astray and that's the half-time whistle. Deep breaths everyone...

39 mins: A spot of kick tennis exposes Traille's frailties at full-back - his kicking game is not up to scratch really - and England get the line-out 40 metres out. Behind the play Josh Lewsey looks to have pulled up with a hamstring injury and that might be terrible news for Brian Ashton's men.

Dan Hipkiss comes on for Lewsey, who is distraught as he limps from the field. Tait will take over on the left wing and Hipkiss will go centre.

38 mins: So close! David Marty sees a gaping hole in the English defence, dances round Lewsey, but in his attempts to get past Robinson 40 metres out he drops the ball and it'll be an England put-in to the scrum.

37 mins: Beauxis is having a bit of a 'mare, his kick after more good work from Jerome Thion goes miles too long and Jason Robinson once again is able to mark in his own 22. The full-back's kick is decent but France will have the line-out 40 metres out.

34 mins: Betsen strides onto Ben Kay's poor slap-back from an England line-out but yet another Beauxis drop-goal falls woefully short.

33 mins: Paul Sackey is forced to run off the pitch under pressure from Marty after Beauxis's huge kick down the line. Lewis Moody rescues the ball from the turn-over and Jason Robinson marks the return kick to give England a breather.

"France have run more ball in the first quarter than the whole of last week. Might open up space for them in the last quarter."
hawick on 606

31 mins: Massive hit on Lewsey from Vincent Clerc, but England are penalised for a forward pass anyway. Sebastien Chabal is down injured... but then gets up after a bit of a breather and rejoins the action.

30 mins: A Traille grubber kick causes problems for Josh Lewsey but the ball comes off Marty's knee to hand England the throw-in. A good push in the maul from France can't fluster England and a good half-break from Mathew Tait earns England a penalty with France going into the ruck on the side.

Wilkinson lines it up, gives it an almighty thump from a metre inside his own half, but it falls agonisingly wide once again - how England need him to start ticking with the boot.

27 mins: Great hands from England and Sackey and Robinson look like they have the overlap. Great recovery tackle on Robinson from Traille saves France, and Jonny Wilkinson's attempted drop-goal falls inches wide from 40 metres.

"The roof came off the O2 when Lewsey scored that early try. Even my Welsh mate in an England shirt was going mad. Not a bad start to my stag do! Followed by huge boos when Chabal came on. Lovely stuff!"
BBC Sport's Julian Shea at the O2 arena.

25 mins: Well it didn't take long - Chabal is in the mixer in place of Pelous, who is injured.

25 min: Two missed overlaps from the French side - three against two twice on the blind side, but the kick is the option and Jason Robinson cleans up to kick clear.

23 mins: A top tackle from Jonny Wilkinson holds up Fabien Pelous, and another appalling drop-goal attempt from Beauxis is charged down. He needs to re-evaluate his kicking game you think.

22 mins: The French are mixing the running game with the kicking game well, as Beauxis pushes England back into their 22 with a lovely kick. Simon Shaw rescues what looked a messy line-out at the front and Gomarsall's box-kick but it does not find touch and Jason Robinson's attempt to keep the ball in on the far side from the return kick fails to hand France the line-out.

Matt Dawson
"Jonathan Kaplan is the sort of referee you need to get on your side. If you lose him early on you never get him back."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

20 mins: More sillyness from England - more fine defence against the French line-out is nullified when the pack go over the top and a bit of back-chat sees the English penalised 10 metres. What did Brian Ashton say about discipline?

18 min: PEN England 5-6 France
Another powerful scrum from England - the French are struggling in that area - but Corry spills the ball under a massive hit from Betsen and it's a French scrum. Sheridan is penalised in the resultant scrum for not taking the bind and it's a penalty.

Beauxis kicks brilliantly from two metres inside the English half to put the hosts in front.

16 min: Good driving maul from the French but Beauxis's up-and-under is recovered by Andrew Sheridan, allowing Jonny Wilkinson to clear deep. It returns but Mike Catt's high kick is well chased by Mathew Tait and Vincent Clerc is pressured well.

The hosts retain possession, though, and following a mini break from Betsen, the ball is spun out wide to Heymans who breaks the English line and Ibanez in turn finds Beauxis with a one-on-one against Sackey. Sackey fells him well, but the pass to Beauxis is ruled forward anyway and it's a reprieve for the English defence.

13 min: Josh Lewsey cleans up Traille's deep kick and finds touch 30 metres from the English line.

12 min: A fine England scrum pushes France back but the ball is messy coming out and all momentum is lost despite some good passing out wide to Paul Sackey. The wing beats one tackle but holds on to hand France the penalty and that's better from the home defence.

10 min: Brilliance from Mark Regan, who charges down Marty's kick and the number 13 races back to kick dead and give England a five-metre scrum. The centre looks rattled.

Matt Dawson
"Unnecessary penalty from Easter but it's like there are 20 white shirts out there - excellent defence from England."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

8 min: PEN England 5-3 France
Beauxis makes no mistake with the easy penalty in front.

7 min: First bit of French flair sees them spin pass after pass and England do well to hold them up. The ball flies back to Beauxis but his ambitious drop-goal from his own half is charged down.

Serge Betsen presses brilliantly, though, and in the ensuing ruck Nick Easter gets himself off-side unnecessarily and it's a penalty.

6 min: More good England defence round the French maul and they turn it over to give Josh Lewsey a glimmer out wide, but he's forced off.

3 min: Jonny Wilkinson cleans up from France's kick and spanks a lovely one back towards half-way. The hosts drive from the line-out but they get nowhere and Jason Robinson marks the desperation kick.

Matt Dawson
"Incredible start for England - exactly what the doctor ordered - and we might just have a monster clash on our hands here!"
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

2 min: TRY England 5-0 France
Early success for England as the scrum collapses three times before referee Kaplan gives the free-kick... and it's massive for England!! Andy Gomarsall's box-kick to Traille sees the France full-back suffer a desperate bounce straight to the onrushing Josh Lewsey, and the Englishman forces his way over the line with barely 78 seconds gone.

Jonny Wilkinson misses the kick from wide on the left, but what a start for England.

2000: We are underway people - France's Beauxis kicks and it's an immediate home knock-on to give England the put-in to the scrum...a nice early test for the hosts...

1958: The early battle - of the national anthems - is just edged by the French supporters, but not by much. The roof of the Stade de France is kept on by willpower alone. A quick note to say I may have to put your missives on hold in this chat while the match is in play - keep it coming on 606 nonetheless though...

1954: The players come together in the tunnel - France first and then the English. Every single player is a study of concentration, but nerves will be paramount I'm sure. Eye contact between the players is minimal, though Ben Kay makes a point of picking out his opposite number Jerome Thion to give him a wink and a nod. Robbo dashes out onto the pitch to be greeted by a monster atmosphere and the anthems are moments away...

Matt Dawson
"I wish I was there - what on earth was I thinking? Why did I retire? I want to be out there so badly! This is why we became rugby players - come on England, smash them!"
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

1947: A quick glimpse of Yannick Jauzion going through his routine and the big Frenchman does not look at all comfortable. His left thigh is heavily strapped and he does not look at his most mobile. A chink in the French armour early doors maybe?

1945: By jove the atmosphere is big in Paris. Just time for me to remind you of the teams before the pre-match routine gets underway in earnest...

England: Robinson; Sackey, Tait, Catt, Lewsey; Wilkinson, Gomarsall; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Kay, Corry, Moody, Easter.
Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Dallaglio, Worsley, Richards, Flood, Hipkiss.

France: Traille; Clerc, Marty, Jauzion, Heymans; Beauxis, Elissalde; Milloud, Ibanez (capt), De Villiers, Pelous, Thion, Betsen, Dusautoir, Bonnaire.
Replacements: Poux, Szarzewski, Chabal, Harinordoquy, Michalak, Dominici, Poitrenaud.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

"At the theatre to watch the Lion King with my niece & nephew, but have paid 2 for a pair of binoculars so they are happy! Have set phone to silent and will check score every 5 mins!"
Martin via text

1938: "The players are going through their last-minute routines on the pitch, the stadium is filling up rapidly and the noise is increasing with it. By the time the game starts the roof is going to come off. The scene is set."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac in Paris

"Come on England, the French think they are going too win easily - just like they did for the Olympics bid! And we all know what happen there don't we."
Nay via text

"Great atmosphere heading into the final half hour before kick-off. I live in France and let me tell you, the French are considering this to be a very close game. I still find it difficult to see past a French victory though. Oh well, good luck to both sides."
SunDragon2007 on 606

"In the Irish bar in Istanbul with a huge group of English fans - and the powers gone out! If they don't fix it soon i might cry..."
Woody, Turkey via text

"Subs are a key to this one. England to lead (not by much) for most of the match. Chabal & Michelak to pull it round & France will nick it with the very last or near last play of the game."
Gubby-Allen on 606

Matt Dawson
"I've been watching Jonny Wilkinson practice his kicking out on the pitch and he is dissecting the posts time after time after time. He can't afford a 60-70% success rate because any missed opportunities are likely to be costly. He has a real spring in his step, though, and he is looking immaculate."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

"The concourses of the Stade de France are rammed with people in varying states of fancy dress - we've just been 'arrested' by two Victorian coppers, but luckily they've let us out on bail to watch the match!"
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Paris

1910: A little change-up to proceedings tonight, with Jason Robinson leading out the England side and Yannick Jauzion doing likewise for the hosts as each celebrate their 50th international cap. To add further emotion to Robbo's situation, it could be his last appearance for England should they fail to shock Les Bleus in Paris. Whichever team wins, they will be the first side to reach the World Cup final after losing a group game since England in 1991 - can either go on to become the first to win it?

French supporters in Paris
"France 30-6 England - Viva la France!"
Lorcan's Manchester Reds (Champions of England 06/07) on 606

"Less than an hour to go boys - beers out and set chariots to low. Once more onto the breech. We band of brothers. We happy few."
charlton_chap on 606

"I'm stuck in Hollywood with no way to see the game. This is heart breaking! I'll be following online and my F5 button is going to get a pounding. Come on England, win pretty or win ugly, but just win!"
Marc, Hollywood, California via text

Brian Ashton
"Today has gone really quickly today to be honest, so there has been no time for the nerves to kick in really. We've adjusted our training schedule this week so that we've been practising in the evenings, so all the players are ready for the late kick-off.

"Emotions will undoubtedly be extremely high and there's only so much you can do about that - but I have utmost confidence in my players. I've already given them my talk - I've told them discipline is crucial, and that we must be ruthless with and without the ball - but now it is down to the players."
England coach Brian Ashton on BBC Radio 5live

"The only thing I think is certain is that this game will be desperately close."
hawick on 606

1855: "I have my ticket in my hand - I feel like Charlie Bucket on his way to the Chocolate Factory."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

Matt Dawson
"Of course I played in the semi-final win over France in 2003 - but on that night the weather was absolutely as miserable as you like, exactly how we wanted it. Today the surface is amazing, it's lush, and all players who want to play rugby will love this - which might just favour a France side looking to run England ragged."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5live

1843: A little bit of background chat for you peeps as we get ever nearer kick-off. England have beaten France only once in the last six attempts - though that was in this year's Six Nations at Twickenham - while they are without a win in Paris since 2000. Revenge will be on France's mind, though, following their semi-final defeat to England in Sydney four years ago when the English pack laid the platform for Jonny Wilkinson to pick off the points with his boot.

Many doubt that England will be as dominant up front as they were on that occasion - or indeed as they were against Australia last week - but there is the odd question over whether the hosts will cope with the pressure in front of their own fans. Witness their opening-night calamity against Argentina...

"Sat in a Brit bar in Las Vegas. Never expected us to march on so far but now i believe!"
Chris via text

Fabien Pelous
French lock Fabien Pelous takes to the pitch
1833: "The players are out and about on the pitch at the Stade de France and you have to say the English are looking pretty relaxed right now - almost as if they are on a quiet Sunday stroll round the grounds of a palatial home. The pitch looks in superb condition - but it is eerily quiet inside the stadium compared to the mayhem outside at the moment."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac in Paris

"France will win by 10 points. England will fall flat. Could not even score a try last week, with all that posession, and to top it off, Mortlock missed three penalties. And Australia lost by a mere two points. This World Cup is going back to South Africa !!!!"
mightynadalfan on 606

"In the interests of world rugby I hope France win. If England were a club team who would pay to watch that?"
coslodeotter on 606

1828: "Right - we're here at the stadium - and the first thing we saw as we exited the Saint-Dennis Porte de Paris station was a bunch of Kiwis fans waving tickets to sell. It's absolutely mobbo with All Black fans and tickets are not hard to come by."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

"In Portland, Oregon feeling really homesick as my American wife doesn't understand how important this is. My England shirt is on and it's off to Kells Irish pub in downtown Portland in a minute to watch the match. C'mon England!"
wiltoncarpet on 606

"The neighbours are having a party tonight - hope they don't mind England rugby fans taking over! Do us proud lads!"
Pete in Zambia via text

"Im in a packed metro, and the bemused French are being entertained by some friendly banter between Gavin Hastings and a man dressed as Admiral Nelson!"
Jamie Sharp, Paris via text

"That French Cockerell is going to be eaten. That's probably why it's not singing."
piyush05 on 606

Obelix gets the beers in before the semi-final
1801: "Have just arrived at the stadium and it is absolutely heaving. This is where it's at right now - literally thousands of people milling around the stadium already, with English and French fans posing together for photographs and the odd Kiwi rather bemused at the sight of so many English knights and French Obelixes! Just two hours to go and I am so excited I might just vomit."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac in Paris

"Am gutted that I will be stuck at home rather than in the pub for this match, but here's to the right result anyway!"
Sarah, Canterbury via text

"I'll be stuck at work until 2100 BST so will be following game online. My better half will be in the pub, though, so com'on England - make us proud!"
Diane, Rotherham via text

Just a quick reminder people - if you're accessing this on WAP out in Paris, or even if you're in your hotel room 'warming up', you can text us on 81111 as long as you're on a UK phone. It doesn't matter where you are in fact, just where your phone is from - get texting!

1740: "In the last five minutes, there has been a significant shift up in gear in terms of atmosphere. I've just entered the Trocadero station and there's a trumpeter blasting out the Marseillaise - every Frenchman within earshot is going absolutely mental."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

"Sitting on train home from Manchester and enjoying the build up on the website - just wish I was there! Dashing home to the pub to start the party - Come on England!"
Guy via text

Brian Ashton
"The players know exactly what they've got to do - it'll be a bit like trench warfare at times I'm sure, but everyone is completely ready for the battle and all we're focusing on is our job - and that's getting the win."
England coach Brian Ashton on BBC Radio 5live

1732: "I'll be at the 02 arena this evening watching the match with 5,000 other fans and the likes of Austin Healey and Ben Cohen in attendance. The fact it's my day off and my stag do won't stop me letting you know how it all goes off!"
BBC Sport's Julian Shea in London

"For archLionheart: best place to go in San Jose is the Britannia Arms on West Santa Clara St. Try their Shepherds Pie while you're at it!"
Gaz in Aberdeen via text

1726: "There's a smattering of Argentina and South Africa fans milling around now as well - though they are a lot more relaxed than the England and France fans! It appears to be an even split between home and England fans at the moment - while there is some interesting breakdancing going on from increasingly inebriated fans as the long afternoon of celebrating begins to kick in. How nice."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Paris

"The key to me is how England were able to declare no injuries within a day of the Australia game, whereas it was midweek before the French could do the same due to the knocks sustained in their game. It implies despite the age of the England team, there should be something left in the tank."
Batson_D_Belfry on 606

1715: Any of you lucky enough to have been tuned in to News24 just now will have seen Ben Dirs and Tom Fordyce being interviewed on the steps in front of the Eiffel Tower by James Pearce. Cue much amusement, but not a small dose of pride, from the BBC Sport interactive offices - the boys done good.

"Come on England. You've done the seemingly 'impossible' once now do it again!! The whole country's behind you!!...Well most of us are!"
Suis Je Bovvered on 606

"Still totally devastated about the Wallabies bowing out...but I survived being in London for Ashes 05 and I can survive this. Good luck England!"
skippy_London on 606

"Anyone who happens to be in Buenos Aires at the moment, get your way to the Alamo bar near the corner of Bulnes and Santa Fe. We're getting a gathering of English fans together so we aren't out-numbered so horribly!"
bensim on 606

"Just off to watch the match live down at the Auld Shabeen pub in Fairfax VA, USA, with a few boys from NOVA rugby club, including a couple of Frenchies. Usually a good international mix there, even the odd Yank or two taken aback by all the singing and totally confused on lack of helmets, pads, and forward passes; Bless em!"
brianwilki606 on 606

Shaun Edwards
"England may attack a little tighter and set shorter targets so that the rucks will be easier to clean when they are on the offensive. If anyone gets isolated against Dusautoir and Betsen, they are going to get turned over."
BBC Sport's Shaun Edwards

1654: "Wahey - we have lift-off! Just heard the first strangled notes of 'Sweet Chariot' ring out across the square. I expect plenty more where that came from for the rest of the day."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

"I prefer my chances against France more than I do against the All Blacks! As long as England keep the basics right I think England has a chance. C'mon England!"
aquacat2 on 606

1647: "Just seen a man dive head-first into the giant fountain at the Trocadero - England fans playing silly sausages already. Meanwhile, I'm watching two men agonise over whether to spend 800 Euros on two match tickets or whether to hold their nerve for a few hours longer. Having already got our tickets stashed away in our back pockets, I'm finding it particularly amusing."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

"So far this World Cup back-to-basics rugby has served teams better which leads me to think England can come away with a victory tonight. It will be a tight encounter, and one which England will not be intimadated in."
Nicksandsocks on 606

"There's nothing like watching an England football game to make you realise how exciting England rugby is. I have friends all around Europe because of work and there is nothing like rugby to bring the expats together. When I bought a finals package in February I was ridiculed by the Antipodeans - it's not looking so daft now!"
Mark via text

England fans soak up the atmosphere ahead of the match
England fans soak up the atmosphere ahead of the match
1641: "French fans are streaming down towards the Eiffel Tower, waving the Tricolore flag, while the sporadic groups of England fans are greeted by choruses of boos and blasts on the air horns. Luckily they are dressed as medieval knights or are sporting rather ridiculous red wigs - so they are clearly man enough to deal with it.

"We're thinking of heading by the Gare du Nord on our way to the stadium - see if we can't catch up with a few more fans as they arrive off the train."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Paris

1633: A bit of weather chat from the frontline for you - despite every picture seeming to show overcast conditions, it's actually a 'gorgeous autumnal early evening' in Paris, says Mark Orlovac. It's sunny with a handful of clouds in the sky - the chances of rain remain slim.

"The best England can hope for is runners-up spot. I see humiliation if they meet South Africa in the final - and to be fair it's about time a proper rugby-playing team won the cup!"
jim040z on 606

1630: "Here at Champs de Mars, it's slowly filling up on the grass by the Eiffel Tower. Games of rugby are breaking out everywhere, although two guys have taken to throwing three cushions at each other. I don't think they've got the idea."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac in Paris

1624: "Just taken a stroll between the legs of the Eiffel Tower. A sprinkling rather than a torrent of England shirts right now, but it's surely only a matter of time before they start spewing onto the streets of Paris. The atmosphere is building nicely, though, and the drips and drabs of Kiwi and Wales shirts suggests everyone has come to join the party."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs - apparently whilst being attacked by a big pigeon - in Paris

England fans are already packing out the Parisian bars
England fans are already filling the Parisian bars
"In San Jose, USA and desperately trying to find a way to watch the game. Any Suggestions?? (Nice ones please) Feel the Boks will have too much for Argentina, but couldn't call the Eng v France. Hope everyone has a great day. Would like Eng to win, but will be immensely proud either way."
archLionheart on 606

"Seems a few out there are having pre-match nerves. Me too. I'm at work, the only Englishman in the catering division at Iceland's int'l airport, and getting quietly worked up. Just been watching UB40s version of Swing Low on YouTube which has left a ruddy great lump in the throat. By God I feel isolated! The guys around me can't understand the fuss and keep asking how England are going to do today... against Estonia! Aaaargh. Hope you all have a great game my fellow countrymen."
AlloEccles on 606

"After a steady diet of Tri-nations and Super 14, France vs England is like watching Marcel Marceau vs Frank Spencer."
dingobait on 606

Matt Dawson
"If England think they were physical against the Aussies, they are going to have to step it up in every single department against France. You have to close their space down."
BBC Sport's Matt Dawson

1616: A reminder of the teams - England and France are both unchanged after their shock wins over Australia and New Zealand respectively, meaning the French 'Caveman' Sebastien Chabal will wait for his chance from the bench.

England: Robinson; Sackey, Tait, Catt, Lewsey; Wilkinson, Gomarsall; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Kay, Corry, Moody, Easter.
Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Dallaglio, Worsley, Richards, Flood, Hipkiss.

France: Traille; Clerc, Marty, Jauzion, Heymans; Beauxis, Elissalde; Milloud, Ibanez (capt), De Villiers, Pelous, Thion, Betsen, Dusautoir, Bonnaire.
Replacements: Poux, Szarzewski, Chabal, Harinordoquy, Michalak, Dominici, Poitrenaud.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

1611: "The atmosphere is building down at the Trocadero - they are showing replays of the England-Australia quarter-final on the big screens and that is going down extremely well with the fans out here. The shadow of the Eiffel Tower hangs over the whole thing - this party is about to go off!"
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce in Paris

"We need the pack to perform once more and we need JW to bring his kicking boots ....but how wonderful it would be to see Catt, Tait and the back three running past the French threequarters.To witness big English forwards bursting through a panicked French defence. Oh,to truly show the whole world what we can really do once released from the shackles of self doubt!"
GreenHamstring on 606

John Inverdale
"The feeling is that England will not be able to dominate up front as they did last week. But will the French be able to resist the temptation to mix it up?"
John Inverdale on BBC Radio 5live

"Last week, it became official - I know nothing about rugby. Forecasting humiliation for the northern hemisphere teams, England and France pulled my pants down and proved me wrong. So I have no pre-match prediction. Other than that the streets of Paris will be the greatest place on Earth to be tonight. That's a fact - my cabbie told me."
BBC Sport's Ben Dirs in Paris

"Four years of disappointment comes down to a semi final match!!! 80 minutes of blood and heart separates us from a second world cup final in a row!! Come on Lads!! Stand up and be counted!!"
RichTownsend on 606

"Whoever wins the semis tonight and gets to the final, this will have been the greatest rugby event in history."
steelweaver on 606

England fans get in the mood
The Cockerel against the Rose - but who will emerge victorious in Paris?

"I had a dream last night that England were defeated by two points, but I have a funny feeling we could pull this off."
Ali on 606

1600: Holy guacamole - what a day huh? Just four hours until England kick off against France with a place in the World Cup final at stake... it does not come much bigger than this. Just travelling in this morning left the hairs on the back of the neck on end - grown men and women clutching their sons and daughters as chorus after chorus of 'Swing Low' rang out around the underground - it was enough to warm even the coldest of hearts I tell thee.

Still, this commentary isn't about my experiences - I want to hear from all you boys and girls out there and your plans for the big match tonight. Are you in Paris for the game? Will you be holed up in a pub somewhere in Blighty? Or have you opted for the comfort of your own home just in case your patriotic exclamations offend the masses?

As well as trying to get as many of your missives up as possible today, we will be in constant touch with our intrepid reporters braving the white-hot atmosphere of Paris and Le Stade de France. Ben Dirs, Tom Fordyce and Mark Orlovac will be keeping us abreast of the atmosphere and all the latest as England strive to upset the odds for the second time in a fortnight...

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