England ready to kick-start World Cup. England will kick off the eighth Rugby World Cup on Friday when they take on Fiji at Twickenham 8pm.
The hosts are aiming to repeat their success of 2003, when Jonny Wilkinson's dramatic drop-goal saw them become champions for the only time.
About 2.3 million of the 2.45 million tickets have been sold for 48 games.
New Zealand are defending champions, Wales are in a competitive pool with England and Australia, while Ireland and Scotland also hope to progress.
In addition to fourth-ranked England and fifth-ranked Wales, who meet in a hugely important match on the second weekend of the tournament, Pool A contains two more sides in the top nine of the world rankings - second-placed Australia and Fiji.
The 20-team World Cup, which runs until 31 October, will take place in stadiums across England and at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Eight of the 13 venues are football stadiums, while Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium, Gloucester's Kingsholm and Exeter's Sandy Park are the traditional rugby grounds to host matches.
With Wembley and the Olympic Stadium also World Cup venues, 17 games will take place in London.
Global governing body World Rugby says almost 500,000 overseas fans are expected to visit England and Wales during the tournament, with the World Cup bringing £1bn to the economy.
A total of 102 nations entered the tournament, which will be broadcast to 772 million households - 15% up on 2011 - with games being shown live in both Germany and China for the first time.
Reigning champions New Zealand go into the tournament as favourites, with England, South Africa and Australia - all former champions - among those tipped to do well.
Ireland, France and Wales have also been touted as potential winners, although one of England, Wales or Australia will fail to reach the last eight as they are in the same pool.