No sooner had England swatted aside Australia to set up a Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, than coach Eddie Jones was slowly stirring the psychological war.
"We are happy to play anyone," he said after Saturday's 40-16 win over the Wallabies in Oita, before cheekily adding: "I have got a soft spot for New Zealand and I would love to play them in a semi-final."
A strange wish to want to face the world No.1 team, but Jones's wish came true when the All Blacks later pummelled Ireland in a lopsided 46-14 affair.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen wasn't interested in being drawn into the debate, though.
"I'm looking forward to playing them too," he said, before shutting the issue down.
"I don't think tonight is the right time for us to be talking about them," Hansen told reporters in Tokyo.
"We've got a formula... Test matches are hard work. So now we are going to step off the merry-go-round and relax. Enjoy our moment because that was a very special test match.
"We will enjoy our moment, the fans and the players. We won't think about England until tomorrow."
The Irish may have felt confident going into their quarter-final clash, after their drought-breaking win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 and another victory in Dublin last November that capped a year that included a Six Nations Grand Slam.
They were ranked No. 1 going into the tournament, but were never in the contest at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
Scrum-half Aaron Smith crossed for a pair of tries and Beauden Barrett finished off a long-range try against the run of play in the first half, and the All Blacks added four more tries in the second half.
The All Blacks, winners of the first World Cup in 1987 and the last two, are shaping up well for a third consecutive title.
And Barrett said: "We're really proud of that performance.
"We knew in previous games against Ireland they've probably got the better of us up front and we knew it had to start there.
"The work the big boys did to dominate most parts of this game certainly helped the backs to exploit the space. It was a huge effort.
"We wanted to bring that intent tonight. It's do-or-die footy - we knew the reality was we could have been going home if we didn't bring it tonight."
New Zealand will play England in a World Cup semi-final on Saturday October 26, kicking off at 5pm local, 7pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO, Rugby Xplorer and Amazon Alexa.