Martin Corry says the England players have been left reeling by Friday's crushing 36-0 defeat to South Africa.
Corry was standing in as skipper for the banned Phil Vickery
The manner of the loss suggests the world champions have little chance of defending their crown and leaves them with a big task to make the last eight.
"We're shell-shocked," said captain Corry. "Being honest, we went into this game thinking we could win and we'll have the same mindset next week."
England will need to beat Samoa to keep alive their hopes of escaping Pool A.
But England coach Brian Ashton admits his team have so far failed to make any progress at the World Cup.
"It's a case of standing still for us. It was a much greater challenge than USA, as we knew it would be," he said.
"I'm disappointed we didn't score - we certainly had a couple of chances.
"The game was effectively over by half-time and the half-time team-talk was to try to salvage some pride."
It was the first time since the 1998 Tour of Hell that England ended a Test without a point, and came hot on the heels of a turgid display against USA.
In the run-up to the match, Ashton said he had not seen such a determined spirit among his players since he replaced Andy Robinson as England head coach in December 2006.
But England's players were unable to show anything like the form required to defend their world title as South Africa, inspired by a superb performance from scrum-half Fourie du Preez, dominated almost every facet of the match.
England were 20-0 down at the break after tries from Juan Smith and JP Pietersen, and Ashton admitted his players had not done themselves any favours at all.
"It was disappointing in the first half that we couldn't translate our possession into field position which was one of our talking points during the week," said Ashton.
"We wanted to keep them in their 22 for a while so that things might start to happen for us. But we didn't do that - they played that part of the game much better than we did, I thought their kicking game was absolutely outstanding.
Du Preez was in sizzling form for the Springboks
"Martin Corry had a real go at the guys which I thought was fully justified. And I thought some of the individual players showed up much better in the second half, there was a lot more - passion isn't the right word, but something like that."
England, who are likely to be without Jamie Noon and Jason Robinson after both left the field in Paris because of injury, will need to beat an extremely physical Samoa side on 22 September to even get out of the group stages.
And Ashton admitted that the prospect of taking on Michael Jones's side was far from straightforward.
"There's a lot of thinking to do," he said.
"On Monday morning we've got to start thinking about how to beat Samoa - that is a must-win game now. It's going to be a tough challenge for us, but we're going to have to do it."
South Africa coach Jake White said the match had sent out a message to the rest of the teams in the tournament.
"I was so nervous this week - there was a lot of talk in the English media that they had one big game in them and I was dreading it would be against us," he said.
The most satisfying thing is seeing the zero on the other side of the scoreboard
Springbok captain John Smit
"With all due respect, we probably didn't play to our best. But we did the simple things really well.
"Defence is a vital part of World Cups, so to not concede a try is very pleasing.
"At at the same time to score three tries and score 36 points against England sends out a statement that we are going to be real contenders for the World Cup."
Springboks captain John Smit also praised his side's defensive display in Paris.
"It was a big game for us - we were well organised and we're pretty happy," he said.
"It's been a long time coming. It was a good performance - but there's a lot more to come.
"The most satisfying thing is seeing the zero on the other side of the scoreboard. Before we have waned after the first-half but the talk in the dressing room was outstanding and we stuck to our task.
"Our preparation is chalk and cheese compared to 2003. It's been a long road and credit to the group but mostly to Jake, even though it has taken its toll on his hairline!"