Bar the NZ-Arg match, which is unlikely to have the edge of our seats and the ends of our nails worn down, there are 3 truly close matches ahead. These are the top 8 IRB ranked teams in the world and as per last week's rankings they were paired as 2 vs 3 (SA-Aus); 4 vs 5 (Eng-Fra) and 6 vs 7 (Ire-Wal). France's defeat to Tonga has since seen them drop to 8th but make no mistake, they aren't just making up les nombres...
England - France
As amusing as it would be to continue a very thinly disguised attempt at English sporting arrogance (and endeavour to evoke a further remarkable barrage of abuse from those whose understanding of sarcasm and irony is about as advanced as Jonny Wilkinson's involvement in twitter), there's simply no way England can confidently assume their semi-final place is secure. The "convincing" Six Nations win was only 9-9 at half-time and a missed Yachvili penalty just before the break could have made for a very different result.
England are going with Flood and Wilkinson, the fairly blunt instrument that has been Tindall
As much as I might try to suppress my patriotism, it seems to be winning out over the English sporting cynicism, so I'm going to go for a 21-13 victory pour les Blancs.
Ireland - Wales
The Celtic clash has been well covered by Ben Dirs so I won't labour to expand upon his analysis but I can't help feeling it is going to be worth the early morning start. These two expansive, attractive rugby-playing nations are 1-1 in World Cup head-to-head but 63-46 to Wales all-time and Ireland have never made it beyond the quarter final stage. But after a famous victory over the Wallabies in the pool, and a convincing dismantling of a potential banana skin in Italy, the Irish must be brimming with confidence. Wales have had a couple of close shaves, one nearly sneaking a win against the world champions, one narrowly escaping going down to the less-than-mighty Samoa. A swansong for greats like O'Driscoll, O'Gara and Williams will only add to the drama.
The fact that I have them in my work sweepstake has nothing at all to do with the fact that I believe Ireland will come through for a 24-17 win.
Australia - South Africa
An absolutely mouth-watering clash between 2 of the 3 teams to have ever defeated the All Blacks in the RWC. They share a 1-1 world cup record and have both won the tournament a joint record 2 times. Remarkably, Australia have never been ranked 1 in the world and the reigning Tri-Nations champions have a losing 26-40 overall record against the Springboks. That said, they beat them in both of the Tri-Nations clashes and go into the match marginal favourites, despite the form of new record South African try scorer Bryan Habana.
Not too sure why, but I've just got an inkling that it could be the Springboks' day and I'll go for a closely fought 18-14 win for the Africans.
New Zealand - Argentina
No second consecutive semi for the Pumas unfortunately, going down 37-9 I reckon.