Wales stand between the Irish and a first appearance in the last four with the outcome between two such well-matched rivals hard to predict.
So far unbeaten Ireland have enjoyed a near-perfect tournament, topping Pool C while playing some magnificent rugby in front of a colourful and noisy 25,000-strong army of supporters who have followed them across New Zealand.
Adding to the mood that 2011 could be Ireland's year is the fact several decorated senior players, among them Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell and Ronan O'Gara, are playing at their last World Cup.
It is a belief shared by Earls, who has been struck by the progress made by the most popular team in New Zealand.
"It's strange, I have this feeling," said Earls, the Lions and Munster winger.
"Speaking to my father and family members back home...I have this strange feeling inside me where it feels like everything is going right.
"Everything went right in the group and everyone is so happy. I keep imagining ourselves in the final.
"I'm concentrating on playing Wales, but it is a strange feeling I have."
Earls has drawn on the teachings of sports psychology throughout the World Cup and is a believer in the impact it can have on performance.
Prior to Sunday's 36-6 victory over Italy, Ireland's leading try scorer at the tournament visualised crossing the whitewash and managed exactly that - twice.
The 24-year-old insists adopting the right mentality is an important ingredient of success.
"Visualisation helps and Ronan O'Gara is big into it," said Earls.
"In the Grand Slam-winning game against Wales in 2009 he visualised himself kicking a drop-goal and that's what happened.
"Even with myself, last week I was rooming with Conor Murray and I was telling him I was going to score against Italy.
"If you think positively then positive things will happen.
"For our game against Wales I've visualised a hat-trick! No, a good performance from the boys and a good victory.
"You're on the world stage and you want to do well. You visualise yourself being the hero and the team walking around doing a lap of honour.
"It's dreaming more than anything but you have to be positive."
Earls insists any doubts over Ireland's ability to reach the latter stages of the World Cup have been proved wrong as the squad's senior players seek the semi-final place that has proved so elusive in the past.
"It's amazing the way the provinces have been playing. Irish rugby is on a massive high," he said.
"A lot of people didn't respect us, or didn't believe we could go this far in the World Cup.
"But we've been playing well and are in the right place.
"If we stick to our game plan we can beat anyone on our day.
"The likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Paul O'Connell and Gordon D'Arcy have been around for a long time.
"This is Brian's fourth World Cup but he has only played in one quarter-final.
"A player of his calibre should be playing in semi-finals and finals on the world stage.
"Hopefully this will be the year for the senior players."
Earls admits the tension that accompanies the biggest match of his career is amplified by the goldfish bowl environment of New Zealand where rugby is cherished above all else.
"We're in the quarter-final of the World Cup and that's good, but it's also quite nerve-wracking," he said.
"You try and switch off but it's always in the back of your head.
"The other night the only thing on my mind was rugby and I barely got to sleep.
"The management tell us to be ourselves. They say this is where we want to be.
"I don't think anywhere else would just talk rugby like they do in New Zealand.
"I was telling people back home about the way Dan Carter's injury was compared to another small earthquake and that Carter was telling people to move on. It's crazy.
"They're really passionate people and they love rugby, but it's tough to get away from it.
"It's good though, I've never experienced anything like this. It's a lot bigger and more pressure than a Lions tour."
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