France will be searching for a final place for a third time - having won two and lost two of their previous four matches at the last four stage.

Here we take a delve into the history books to see what happened:

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1987

France produced the performance of the inaugural tournament at Sydney's Concord Oval in one of the greatest games of rugby ever staged. Australia had been favourites to win and looked to be in control when David Campese scored his 25th test try, an international record, and Michael Lynagh became the highest points scorer in Australian history. France trailed three times but pulled back on each occasion to tie the score at 24-24 before fullback Serge Blanco scored out wide in the dying minutes and Didier Camberabero converted to give their team a 30-24 victory.

1991

England's giant forwards rolled over Scotland in Edinburgh but could still win by only 9-6 with two penalties to Jonathan Webb and a drop goal to Rob Andrew to two penalties by Gavin Hastings. Hastings could have given his side a 9-6 lead going into the final quarter but he missed an easy penalty and it was Andrew who scored the winning points.

1995

A juggernaut called Jonah Lomu scored four tries to lead the All Blacks to a 45-29 win over an England side that were as good as beaten after the first minute when Lomu ran through Tony Underwood, away from Will Carling and over Mike Catt. Number eight Zinzan Brooke added to England's Cape Town misery by drop-kicking a goal and only late tries by England as the All Blacks relaxed gave any semblance of respectability.

In Durban, South Africa beat France 19-15 after a torrential downpour had almost flooded King's Park. France almost stole victory at the death when Emile Ntamack crossed the line only to knock on, then Abdel Benazzi was pulled down inches short but the Springboks held on to reach the final in their first appearance at the tournament.

1999

France's 43-31 win over New Zealand at Twickenham in 1999 was undoubtedly the finest semi-final of any World Cup. New Zealand appeared to be cruising after two tries to Lomu gave them a 24-10 lead before the most astonishing turnaround in the tournament's history. In the space of 13 minutes the French scored 26 points, with tries to wing Christophe Dominici and centre Richard Dourthe and two penalties, two drop goals and two conversions from Christophe Lamaison.

2003

There was driving rain and a slippery pitch for the clash between England and France. French flanker Serge Betsen scored the only try of the match but fly-half Jonny Wilkinson guided England to a crushing 24-7 win with five penalties and a hat-trick of drop goals in a masterful kicking display.

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