Wales overcame their Samoan bogey at World Cups to record a gripping 17-10 triumph at Waikato Stadium on Sunday.
The match, a truly absorbing encounter - the 250th in World Cups -sets up a potential quarter-final meeting for Wales with fellow Six Nations side Ireland.
One of Samoa's finest moments came in a monumental upset in 1991, and they got up in a similarly thrilling match eight years later.
But they couldn't conjure up another fairytale, and are now resigned to an early exit unless they can tip up the defending champion Springboks or Wales lose to Fiji.
It seems unlikely, leaving Wales as the likely second-placed qualifier from Pool D and due to Ireland's upset of Australia the previous night, means the northern hemisphere foes are on a quarter-final collision course.
Both sides scored a try each, through winger Shane Williams and Samoan prop Anthony Perenise, with the boots of James Hook and Rhys Priestland accounting for the difference.
Samoa turned with the breeze behind their backs at 10-6 up but possibly due to the effects of a four-day turnaround – as opposed to Wales' seven – were run down.
Stoic defence by both sides meant their lines were almost impossible to breach, and the physicality was at times brutal. It was always expected from Samoa, but Wales gave as good as they got.
Wales went into the match with the same XV that were narrowly tipped 17-16 in their Cup opener against South Africa, while Samoa made two injury-enforced changes as fly-half Tusi Pisi (hamstring) and Taiasina Tuifua (ribs) missed out.
Hook's 11th minute penalty was matched by Paul Williams four minutes later, and Wales had the lead back on 27 minutes when the Welsh fullback slipped over but still managed to bang it over.
It seemed that advantage would be sustained until halftime, but Samoa had other ideas. Wave after wave of phase play nearing the whistle took them to both sides of the field, until a cut-out pass found open space and Perenise did brilliantly to pick up around his ankles and score with a full 40 minutes of energy sapped from him.
Wales coach Warren Gatland pulled a surprise for the second half, benching Hook and injecting the superior attacking talents of Leigh Halfpenny at the back.
It proved an inspired move as the diminutive World Cup debutant provided the spark for the try that eventually separated the sides.
Put down initially in a tackle 10 minutes from time, Halfpenny was not held and regained his feet to sprint clear. He drew a defender in Jonathan Davies, who almost blew it when he held on too long and threw a misguided pass, but Williams scooped it up and dotted down for his 55th Test five-pointer.
It drew a lot of life out of the already tiring Samoans, who managed to get down the other end with five minutes to go but could not get over the line.
Follow ITV Rugby on Twitter
Sign up for our email alerts in the yellow box on the right to get the latest news and video direct to your inbox