TOKYO, 12 Oct - Anything is possible in Yokohama on Sunday night in the showdown between Japan and Scotland for the last place in the quarter-finals of Rugby World Cup 2019.
Winner takes all? Well, perhaps not. Japan certainly will not be discounting the draw. First, it would be enough to put them through to the last eight for the first time. Second, they have been involved in two of just three draws in the history of the tournament. And who played in the other? Scotland, of course.
One of rugby's major attractions is that draws are increasingly rare. Great matches are usually settled in 80 minutes without recourse to such means as penalty shoot-outs, as seen at football's World Cup.
True, two of the most memorable finals - South Africa versus New Zealand in 1995, and England versus Australia in 2003 - were won, thrillingly, in extra time. But of 294 pool games since 1987, going into the Australia-Georgia match on Friday, just three (1 per cent) have ended all square.
Scotland featured in the first, back in 1987 in Christchurch, when they drew 20-20 with France. Gavin Hastings, father of Scotland fly-half Adam, kicked four penalties that day.
Twenty years passed before the second draw, when Japan and Canada finished 12-12 in Bordeaux. Kosuke Endo, below, and DTH van der Merwe, both scored in that match, and did so four years later, when Japan and Canada were at it again.
This time, the 23-23 draw at McLean Park in Napier, pictured, was hugely frustrating for Japan, who were minutes away from winning their first RWC match.
They led by eight points with five minutes left, thanks to tries from Shota Horie and Endo, below, but the Canucks' Alexander Monro scored a try and kicked a penalty a minute from time.
Japan have drawn 6 per cent of their RWC games, well above the average. Scotland also have recent history of taking two points from a match - their sensational 38-38 draw against England in March in the Six Nations Championship. Scotland hauled themselves back from 31-0 down at Twickenham to conjure a winning position, only for George Ford to frustrate them with a try for England as the clock showed 84 minutes.
This makes Japan, and maybe Scotland, the closest thing world rugby has to draw specialists. In Yokohama, though, while level pegging would suit Japan perfectly, it would be terminal for Scotland's hopes of reaching the knockouts.
The permutations in this tightest of RWC 2019 pools became a little simpler after Ireland's bonus-point win over Samoa on Saturday. Going into the final game, one thing is certain, though: if Japan, beaten three times by Scotland in past World Cup matches, were offered another draw before kick-off on Sunday, they would grab it.