England appear to have two major problems if they are to reach a third successive World Cup final: how to secure quick ball and finding a way of doing something useful if they get it.
The Six Nations champions remain a powerful force at scrum and line-out but set-piece strength is unlikely to be enough by itself to see them once again reach the Final at this year's edition in New Zealand following their appearances in the climax of the 2003 and 2007 tournaments.
Unlike the 2003 side he skippered to World Cup Final winning glory against Australia in Sydney, England manager Martin Johnson does not have the luxury of a settled team.
Flank Lewis Moody, when fit, is Johnson's preferred choice as captain and led England to a 23-19 win over Wales at Twickenham earlier this month only to suffer a recurrence of his ankle injury.
Doubts though remain as to whether, for all his qualities, he is a genuine openside flank in the mould of New Zealand's Richie McCaw.
Tom Wood added much-needed dynamism to England's back-row work during the Six Nations but has currently just the seven caps behind him and is vying for a starting spot alongside the likes of Moody, Tom Croft, James Haskell and specialist No.8 Nick Easter.
England's midfield, where they have failed to settle on a playmaking centre since the retirement of 2003 World Cup-winner Will Greenwood, also remains an area of concern.
It was Greenwood who recently posed the question of whether England were "clever" enough to win the World Cup.
His comments came after last week's 19-9 warm-up defeat by Wales in Cardiff where England secured a huge amount of possession but were unable to score a try after a series of predictable close-range rucks were repelled.
Johnson has tended to opt for powerful, defensively strong, players in midfield be they his 2003 World Cup winning colleague Mike Tindall or Southern Hemisphere imports Shontayne Hape and the Samoa-born Manu Tuilagi at the expense of flair players.
"I have not lost sight of the bigger picture," Johnson insisted after the Cardiff defeat.
"When you get that much territory you have got to get the points," he acknowledged.
Johnson has already lost injured scrumhalf Danny Care from his squad and a potentially bruising final warm-up encounter away to Ireland, the team that denied England a Grand Slam this season, offers the prospect of fresh disruption.
But, assuming they avoid a raft of injuries, England will remain a tough team to beat.
They are also a resilient tournament side as they showed at the World Cup in France four years ago where, despite a 36-0 pool defeat by South Africa, they made it through to the final before losing to the Springboks again.
A pool containing arch-rivals Scotland and Argentina, third in France four years ago, will not be a picnic.
But if they top it, they are set to avoid New Zealand, a team they've 'missed' in the last two World Cups, in the last eight should the All Blacks win their pool too.
And England, who can still call upon 2003 hero Jonny Wilkinson, have shown they can find a way to triumph in winner-take-all knockout clashes.
The former lock is bidding to become the first man to both captain and coach a World Cup winning side. For all his motivational qualities, doubts remain over the backroom skills of the often-stubborn Johnson, who hadn't coached or managed any side before being parachuted into the England job.
Toby Flood - flyhalf/centre
Has emerged out of the shadow of former Newcastle mentor Wilkinson to become England's first-choice No. 10 in recent times. But Australia great Michael Lynagh believes a 10-12 pairing of Wilkinson and Flood could be the solution to England's midfield conundrum. Flood, who has demonstrated the ability to unlock a well-run defence, at least acknowledged the depth of England's problems after the Cardiff defeat by saying: "It hurts, the fact we couldn't score a try. It is shameful. We can use harsh words because if you want to win a World Cup, tries are massive."
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