It is time to start rolling out your we're-in-the-home-straight lines. The pretenders have gone, just the contenders remain. The skirmishes are over and the remaining four armies are preparing for the Big Push into Yokohama. What you've just read are examples of dreadful sports writing: we can all agree that is fact.
Now it's time, in a slightly less hackneyed way, to separate some semifinal fact from fiction.
The World Cup final is really being played this Saturday
After the quarter-finals it's official: New Zealand and England are ranked Nos 1 and 2 in the world respectively. Wales have dropped to three and the Springboks have sprung to No 4.
Maths aside, the All Blacks and England have clearly been the form teams of the tournament. The way they dispatched Ireland and Australia in the quarter-finals demonstrated the sort of brilliance and ruthlessness required to win tournaments.
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Both also "enjoyed" a match off due to Hagibis (a luxury not afforded Wales or South Africa) so are not as banged up. Don't over-complicate the issue, the quality in the Saturday semifinal is strikingly superior to that of the Sunday match-up.
It is the final that wasn't.
FICTION: Everything points to "Fact" here except for a couple of wrinkles: whoever emerges victorious from Saturday's titanic struggle will be battered beyond the ice bath. That one less match won't be as much of a factor as it might have been this week.
More pertinently, neither Wales nor South Africa could give a tinker's cuss whether you think the semifinal draw was weighted in one direction. One of them will be in the final and 80 minutes from glory.
For an example of the dangers of thinking "job done", let's wind by the microfiche back to 2011 when everybody "knew" the real final was the semifinal between the All Blacks and the Wallabies. The injury ravaged All Blacks brilliantly quelled the Australian threat and were left with the simple task of defeating a French team in rebellion against their coach and who needed a late penalty miss to beat a Wales side that had played the majority of the match with 14 men.
The final was fait accompli. And yet...
The way play ran in the subsequent final, France would win that match seven out of 10 times.
There is no debate that the All Black-England semifinal has the two best teams at the tournament, but don't put the medals around the winners' necks just yet.
Kieran Read will be remembered as a true great
There have been doubts about Read's effectiveness in recent times and not all of them related to his shifting role from devastating edge runner to a more middle-of-the-park bruiser.
The herniated disc that required surgery in December 2017 seemed to take a bit of the physical sting from his game and it has not always been certain that the burdens of captaincy have rested easily upon his shoulders.
The 2019 World Cup has allayed any fears one might have harboured about his declining powers, his leadership or what winning in an All Black jersey means to him.
He has been immense.
FACT: Read is in some respects an underappreciated superstar whose most explosive days as a loose forward were played under the long shadow of Richie McCaw.
It is now time to acknowledge that Read is an All Black giant and every bit the big-game hunter his predecessor as skipper was.
Read's CV already glitters like gold but his performances in Japan have added sparkle.
While Beauden Barrett picked up the man-of-the-match gong for his near-flawless performance in the quarter-final mauling of Ireland, Read was the most influential player on the park.
His ball-carrying and handling always provided go-forward and his tackling always resulted in Ireland go-backward.
The 125-test veteran has been in that sort of form all tournament.
Read doesn't need a third World Cup winners medal to cement his legacy and while he would be the first to acknowledge that nobody is in the business of handing out freebies, if his contribution to the All Blacks is to be measured accurately, he probably deserves one.
Referees will still be making coaches nervous
Few would argue that the best four teams have made the semifinals, so anxiety over the refereeing has been overblown, right?
We've talked about the interpretive curiosities of rugby's law book ad nauseam but it remains as true now as it did at the start of the tournament that some refs just see the game in a different way and some teams find certain refs easier to play under than others.
It's probably not betraying any state secrets to say that both the All Blacks and South Africa would prefer it if they avoided Jerome Garces, as both teams have struggled with his interpretations in the past.
Watching the wild west that was offside line and the breakdown in the first half of the Japan-South Africa quarter-final, you imagine that either Wales or South Africa will be hoping Wayne Barnes gets the final if the All Blacks overcome England.
The All Blacks, on the other hand, will be hoping for Owens (against South Africa), whose mannerisms and rulings they have become familiar with or Jaco Peyper against Wales.
It's the cards, however, that still remain the biggest worry. Nobody in their right mind would try to defend the mindless actions of France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina whose blatant elbow cost France a place in the semifinals and perhaps, at just 28, precipitated his retirement from international rugby.
But in the spirit of what-aboutism, how did Tendai Mtawarira escape the same sanction for his tip tackle on Keita Inagaki? By the standards that have rightly or wrongly applied to rugby in recent years, referee Barnes had a fairly simple job to do then and he failed to carry it out.
Wales were fortunate, too, that flanker Ross Moriarty received only yellow for a tackle flush across the jaw of Gael Fickou. We need no reminding that Bundee Aki, among others, was not so fortunate in an earlier match despite delivering less potentially destructive tackles.
FACT: The "value" placed on acts of foul play is just so arbitrary it continues to make a mockery of the sport. It's all very well having QCs that can argue your case in the tribunal but all the damage to your team is done in that moment when the referee decides whether to reach for red or yellow.
How do you mitigate against these vagaries? Don't ask World Rugby because they haven't come close to figuring that out.
Interestingly, there has been a staggering 25 per cent drop on penalty kicks from 2015 to 2019.
While it speaks to a more entertaining product – nobody likes watching kickers line up shot after shot – it has also created frustration because the source of many of those kicks, the breakdown, has become in the eyes of some coaches and observers, increasingly lawless.
The fact remains, referees still have the potential to have far too greater say in the eventual outcome of this tournament.