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Great World Cup shocks

Published 19/09/2015

Japan caused a momentous World Cup upset
Japan caused a momentous World Cup upset

Japan stunned South Africa and millions of stunned Springboks fans with a 34-32 win at Brighton in World Cup Pool B on Saturday.

Here Press Association Sport looks at other big surprises in the history of the World Cup.

Australia 24 France 30 - 1987 World Cup semi-final, Sydney

Inspired finishing from full-back Serge Blanco denied Australia their dream final against inaugural co-hosts New Zealand. Th e two sides were neck and neck as the clock ticked over into injury time and Blanco skipped down the wing and dived full length to book his side a place in the first final.

Wales 13 Samoa 16 - 1991 World Cup group stages, Cardiff

The Samoans opened up a 13-3 lead after Sila Vaifale touched down - and it was only then that the Welsh looked interested. Arthur Emyr reduced the arrears with a converted try. But Mathew Vaea's penalty put the Samoans two scores up, so when Evans touched down in injury time it was too little too late.

Western Samoa 16 Wales 13 - 1991 group stage

"Thank heavens Wales weren't playing the whole of Samoa" went the famous quip after a leading rugby nation came unstuck in the tournament against a rank outsider for the first time. T he more reliable kicking of Mathew Vaea proved decisive in the Cardiff Arms Park contest as Wales failed to get out of their group.

South Africa 15 New Zealand 12 - 1995 final

With Nelson Mandela in the stand at Johannesburg wearing his replica Springbok shirt, South Africa nailed Jonah Lomu . Joel Stransky landed the crucial drop goal with seven minutes remaining of extra-time - h ad the scores remained level New Zealand would have won on the controversial 'fewer sendings-off' ruling.

Wales 31 Samoa 38 - 1999 group stage

The islanders repeated their shock victory from eight years earlier, becoming the first visiting team to win at Wales' new Millennium Stadium. However, unlike the 1991 game, the match was a feast of running rugby, the visitors clinical in the extreme in scoring five tries.

France 43 New Zealand 31 - 1999 semi-final

F ive Nations wooden-spoonists earlier in the year, France scored 33 points during 26 remarkable minutes to leave a capacity crowd at Twickenham stunned. It was a rguably the most sustained period of exhilarating, attacking rugby ever witnessed in a Test match - let alone the World Cup.

France 12 Argentina 17 - 2007 group stage

Les Bleus, under huge pressure as the top-rated team in the northern hemisphere, seemed to freeze in the spotlight as Argentina's formidable forwards steamrollered through the French lines. Ignacio Corleto scored the game's only try as 80,000 French fans were stunned into silence.

Wales 34 Fiji 38 - 2007 group stage

Wales were sent crashing out by Fiji in an extraordinary encounter in Nantes. A try from Semisi Naevo four minutes from time gave the islanders a quarter-final tie against South Africa - and cost Wales coach Gareth Jenkins his job the following day.

France 14 Tonga 19 - 2011 group stage

Tonga produced an inspirational display in Wellington in one of the competition's biggest upsets, but Vincent Clerc's last-gasp try ensured Les Bleus nevertheless progressed to the quarter-finals.

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