Wales had also given New Zealand a run for their money in the final Pool D match - and Wilkinson is in no doubt Sir Clive Woodward's side will face a tough challenge when the two countries meet at Twickenham for their 2004 RBS 6 Nations showdown on March 20.
"In the World Cup we had direct contact with Wales, so we know a lot about them and the way they are playing at the moment is fantastic," reflected Wilkinson.
"They are there on merit and other teams have got to play well against Wales.
"They have made a statement by the way they played in the World Cup to say 'we could have beaten New Zealand and we could have beaten England'.
"So they are there, and France again - who were favourites for the World Cup at one point.
"I think everyone tends to play well against us anyway.
"Every team has got a bit of an image and pride to guard, but that is the way it is - you are judged on your last performance.
"We have got to make sure that after these next two weekends that we are continuing to move on a positive, upwards, curve."
Sir Clive Woodward's men may be world champions, but the man who famously drop-kicked his country to glory Down Under last year knows everyone will now be out to bring England down a peg or two.
And rather than resting on their laurels, Wilkinson maintains the Webb Ellis Cup holders will be going all out to ensure they continue that winning feeling.
He said: "It took a huge effort from everyone in the team to win the World Cup and we all pulled through and I think everyone should be proud of being able to say, how ever many times, that they were there.
"What I am more scared of is that you might have to say I was there when we let ourselves down in the Six Nations, or we had a bad tour.
"That is the sort of thing I fear having to talk about for the rest of my life, the missed opportunities - and that does scare me a bit.
"The important thing now is that we get another medal to add to the pile."