World Cup underdogs England are ready to complete one of sport's greatest comebacks, with captain Phil Vickery declaring: "We thoroughly deserve our chance to be here."
Just five weeks after South Africa - their opponents in Saturday night's final at Stade de France - smashed them in record-breaking 36-0 fashion, England are remarkably one win away from glory.
By Vickery's own admission, England were "staring down the barrel" after that Springboks debacle, but successive victories over Samoa, Tonga, Australia and France mean they are on course to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy.
It would be an achievement without equal in world rugby, and possibly even eclipse the heroics of Martin Johnson and company four years ago.
Vickery said: "Four weeks ago, we were staring down the barrel of a gun and on the way home.
"But we are in a World Cup final, and we've achieved a lot of things to get here.
"We thoroughly deserve our chance to be here, but being here is not good enough - we want to go out and retain our trophy.
"I don't think the guys need much motivation. There are huge amounts of expectation outside the team, and from within the side.
"The challenge is for us to up our performance on the biggest stage in world rugby, which is not an easy feat to achieve."
England have defied overwhelming odds to secure another appointment with the Springboks, and more than 50,000 red rose fans are expected to flood the French capital - many of them without tickets.
The mere possibility of England contesting another World Cup final was dismissed as pure fantasy in the aftermath of South Africa's embarrassingly easy stroll.
Vickery and company though, through a stirring combination of sheer cussedness, determination and no little skill, have proved everyone wrong.
He added: "We all trust each other implicitly within the side, and we need to produce a performance that will compete with South Africa.
"It's great we are here in the final. It's not by luck, we have deserved to be here, and credit to everyone involved.
"Playing for your country is always a huge honour. I have been lucky enough to be part of some fantastic occasions, but I don't want to go back home without that cup."