The trouble with the scenarios open to Scotland if they wish to preserve their record of qualifying for the quarter-finals in every World Cup is that each one appears as unlikely as the next. Indeed the most bullish person about the Scots' chances of defeating England in the sides' concluding Pool B match on Saturday – and they will probably have to do it by eight or more points to progress – was the Argentina No 8, Juan Fernandez Lobbe.
"I believe anyone can beat anyone in this World Cup," said the former Sale Sharks forward. "The passion that Scotland have and the way they play, it's going to be a very interesting match against England."
It is fair to say that none of the personnel in the three teams fighting out the pool's two qualifying places would volunteer Georgia – who face the Pumas on Sunday – among the "anyone" of whom Lobbe spoke. The common prediction is that Argentina will take at least a win from that match and perhaps a bonus to move on to 14 or 15 match points – four or five more than Scotland possess after they coughed up a six-point lead in the last eight minutes in Wellington yesterday.
All the Scottish full-back Chris Paterson could manage was that "Scotland-England matches are a wee bit different so you never know". Paterson was among those culpable in the build-up to Lucas Amorosino's crucial try for Argentina, described by the Scotland head coach Andy Robinson as "30 seconds of madness". The score came in the 73rd minute, immediately after Dan Parks had squirted over a dropped goal from a position deep in the 22 created by the replacement Scotland fly-half's superb penalty kick to touch.Reuse content