Using disappointment to end on a high - England will want to sign off from the World Cup on a positive note

After an horrendous build up to the World Cup, England will want to end their journey in France with a positive result in the third-place play-off
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There is no doubt that England's players will line up tonight in Paris thinking; 'What if?'

They will be hurting hugely after their heartbreaking semi-final loss to world champions South Africa but Steve Borthwick’s side will want to end this tournament on a high and not on back-to-back defeats.

This week, Jonny May compared Borthwick to Alan Turning, the man who masterminded the cracking of the Nazis' Enigma code during the Second World Cup. "If anyone is going to crack the code to rugby, it will be Steve," said May. "He's getting ever closer each week. He's got an analytical, evidence-based, scientific, Spock-like approach to the game."

The level of detail which Borthwick goes into when preparing for games has been mentioned throughout England's World Cup campaign and one of their star performers out in France, Ben Earl, gave an insight into how they have been able to psych themselves up for their third-place play-off against Argentina.

"It’s been hard, very hard [after their loss to South Africa] and we’ve got to lean on each other, we’ve got to try and give those boys having their last game [Ben Youngs] the send-off they deserve but also it’s a game playing for your country so in that regard, it’s easy to get up for," Earl explained.

Many people may see this evening's contest at the Stade de France as a dead rubber because both England and the Pumas would have wanted to be playing in Saturday night's final.

However, it is a game where England can end what has largely been a positive World Cup journey on a high especially when you compare it to how Borthwick's troops entered the competition.

"For 77 minutes it [the semi-final v South Africa] was the most enjoyable game I ever played in," Earl continued.

This emotion will give him and the other players the determination to push on to get back to occasions such as semi-finals at the next World Cup in Australia.

"What hurts the most is that none of us feel we could have done any more, it’s just a flip of a coin in those kind of games," he added.

Last Saturday's defeat against the Springboks will be a huge learning curve for Earl as well as the younger, more inexperienced members of Borthwick's squad as England look to transition into a new era post-World Cup.

Friday will see legendary scrum-half Ben Youngs play his final Test for England while Courtney Lawes also called time on his international career at the beginning of the week.

Youngs will win his 127th cap in Paris and was praised by his former England teammate and now coach, Richard Wigglesworth, around his role in the squad despite having limited minutes at his fourth World Cup: "From gameplans, to experience in playing against opposition, to in training, he’s been very good."

Club teammate Freddie Steward paid tribute to Youngs as well as Dan Cole saying he 'couldn't thank them enough' for their guidance, with Cole one of a group of players who may also be playing in their last World Cup game for England tonight.

Hopefully these legends of the English game over the last decade like Lawes, Youngs and Cole can have the send off they deserve as Borthwick's squad look to sign off on a high.