The All Blacks are famously tough, they never give up, and they marry strong forward play with exciting backs and a desire to play an attacking style. Only a handful of other rugby-playing nations has ever beaten them. Three of the other quarter finalists (Ireland, Scotland, Argentina) have never beaten an All Black side, and the Welsh have not won against the All Blacks since 1953.
And then there are the French.
We play them in Cardiff. They are our most feared World Cup opponents, have won two brilliant victories to knock out All Black teams in 1999 and 2007, and almost rallied to beat us in the 2011 final.
The first rugby names I remember from my childhood are French. Lescarboura , Sella, Blanco, Condom. They were formidable then and their players are formidable now.
On paper we should waltz in, but rugby is not played on paper. The French bring a particular mix of apparent insouciance, actual brilliance and a lack of concern for personal safety that can unsettle the All Blacks. Every so often they seem to be able to find something that we can't account for.
It's a wonderful game, a wonderful match up, and the uncertainty is killing me! I can't wait for it to begin.
To give you some idea of what the French can do, here is the try from the ends of the earth.
But first there is Wales against South Africa...
Good luck to all the teams, and may the best win!