Expectations were low heading into the tournament opener against Argentina, and those were hardly improved when Tom Curry was sent off early on, but England produced a sensational display thereafter as George Ford shone in a 27-10 victory.
That has lifted the mood significantly and left Steve Borthwick’s side as the strong favourites to win Pool D and book their place in the quarter-finals.
Japan sit top of the standings going into the match, even if they were not entirely convincing for the full 80 minutes in their big win over Chile. Should they be beaten tonight by England, a place in the last eight could be on the line when they take on Argentina in their final pool game. But Samoa will also have a big say in that race.
Where to watch England vs Japan
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s game will be broadcast live and free to air on ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:15pm BST ahead of an 8pm kick-off in Nice.
Live stream: The ITV website and ITVX app will also offer a free live stream service for fans online.
Live blog: You can follow all the action via Standard Sport’s live match blog, featuring expert analysis from Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice.