England suffered a Pool B setback when Mathieu Acebes scored the late try that earned France a 21-14 win in the second round of games at the London Sevens.
England are attempting to close a 13-point gap on Sevens World Series leaders New Zealand but will now need to beat Argentina in this evening 's final game to reach the cup quarter finals.
Captain Ben Gollings scored both England tries and added two conversions but his side missed one good late scoring chance and France went the length of the field to claim the points.
France had caused England problems in a physical first half before turning the ball over on their own 22, Gollings punishing them with the opening try and converting moments before the break.
Although the visitors hit the front when Jean Baptiste Gobelet and Paul Albaladejo struck through the middle, Gollings appeared to have settled England 's nerves with his second score, converting to tie the game up at 14-14.
But England couldn 't cross the line after one great surge down the right and were punished by the breakout that ended with Acebes going under the posts and Albaladejo converting.
Earlier, Dan Norton 's hat-trick of tries had edged England to a 31-21 win in their opening game against the USA.
Gollings and Tom Powell scored early tries but Matt Hawkins, Paul Emerick and Shalom Suniula put the USA 21-14 up before the Bristol Rugby wing struck three times in as many minutes.
Elsewhere Wales are on course for the quarter finals after beating Spain 33-10 and Kenya 29-12, while Scotland had nothing to show for two good performances that ended in a 19-15 defeat against series champions Samoa and a 24-21 reverse against last year 's London Sevens winners Australia.