Both won the final with drop goals
When the 2007world cup started and the pool games were in progress the teams considered worthy of taking the cup were Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The thinking was touted around and reinforced with France being beaten by Argentina and England losing to South Africa taking second place in their group. Scotland had only an outside chance to the semi-final while Ireland as well as Wales dropped out at the pool stage. Then Australia was beaten upfront and kicked out from the semi-final by England. France surprised and pushed out New Zealand. It was South Africa that was left to battle the unexpected entrant to the Final; England who beat France.
The question that remained to be answered was whether England can create history by regaining the Rugby World Cup? They were confident even though they had a shaky start. The confidence has been growing and the performance has been good since the pool matches and the possibility was rich for England to be the world cup champions of 2007. On the other hand South Africa having beaten England 36 points to nil expected to pulverize the Lions and annex the cup. Going by the performances of this world cup past performance has not been the best determinant of what will happen. If past performance is any indicator then it would not be England who were in the final nor would it have been France that would have been in the semi final.
Both South Africa and England were there close to take home the second Rugby World Cup and the cup seems to be there for the taking. By the time this article goes to print the fate of the cup would have been decided. It has been only Australia who has taken the cup twice so far. The last winners of the cup England have not had the best of times since winning the World Cup in 2003, and if it is the results that one would go by - the defending champs are not the favorites to win Their four-year reign produced the worst results in England's rugby history including a first loss to Argentina at Twickenham. England has performed what can be called, one of the great come-from-behind stories in sport. What is to prevent England taking the cup? It was against all odds that England fought back after 36 points to nil defeat in the pool stage to defeat Australia and France to reach the Final.
It has not been all rosy for South Africa either, who had a dismal 2003 World Cup. They boomed back by taking Tri-Nations honours the following year. South Africa entered the French stadium as the only nation undefeated in the tournament. Knowing that all past winners of the cup were unbeaten teams. Both finalists came from the same group, and both had tough opposition in the play-off stages. South Africa took their place on top of Pool A.
England's performance to reach the quarter-final was slightly less convincing and their place in the world cup Final came as a bit of a surprise. With everything going against them, England must take heroic pride for their performances against Australia and again against France and pulling off the impossible to make a fairytale journey into the Final. Like most fairy tales do the possibility lies for England to have a happy ending.
South Africa have proved that they are way ahead on the world stage as far as results are concerned, leaving England way behind. Performances at this World Cup have been a mixed bag of tricks for both teams. And then there is England who has fought out two victories in two consecutive matches to give them the confidence to bravely execute a basic game plan carried out by a set of brutes up front.
But there can only be one winner as both teams have found out in the two World cup Finals that they have won. England have been in the Final twice and won it once whereas South Africa was there once and won it. In 1995 it was South Africa in Extra time with a drop goal and in 2003 it was England with drop goal. Thus both teams have won the World Cup finals they took part in with famous drop-goals. Jonny Wilkinson who made it for England in 2003 is there in this final too. But who deserved to win will not be the most important. The Rugby World Cup in the past has been great occasions that have been enjoyed. These have been matches where victory has been the most important expectation from the event. It has been more occasions to remember and a night one will not want to forget. It has been great occasion for all even though quality rugby may not have been the outcome. It is the Web Ellis Trophy that has to be won.