PARIS – Three-times runnersup France head to the World Cup knowing that defeat to Argentina in their opening game in Japan might lead to them being knocked out in the pool stage for the first time.
'Les Bleus' have been well short of their best over the past few years and lost in the quarter-finals four years ago, matching their worst performance at a World Cup.
France will also face England, Tonga and the United States in Pool C but it is their group opener against the Pumas on Sept. 21 that is likely to determine the fate of Jacques Brunel's side.
Defeat would leave them needing a win over England to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-final stage but in their last 10 meetings they have beaten the English only three times.
Despite the emergence of young talents such as scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, France have been also-rans in the Six Nations, finishing fourth three times in the last five years. They were third (2017) and fifth (2016) the other two years.