Norway overturned their negative eight points difference with a stunning second half performance to outgun favourites Germany in Porsgrunn.
All the sides in European Championship C – North finish on two points, but the Vikings progress to face South winners Greece in a neutral ground play off next month because of the magnitude of this win.
Leading narrowly at the break, the hosts were superb afterwards led by Stavanger Storm centre Kristoffer Borsheim, who finished with four tries.
“It’s a massive win, I didn’t think we could do it,” said Norway skipper Kristoffer Milligan. “Credit to the players, coaches and staff involved. It’s great for the sport here and this result will massively help us to become a stand-alone recognised national sport.”
Stavanger stand off Nathan Cummins was the key to victory, his duel with opposite number Brad Billsborough the highlight of a tense contest.
With the visitors holding a 20 point advantage after their win over the Czech Republic, continuing qualification for the 2021 World Cup was on a knife edge until the 64th minute, with the hosts 30-10 ahead.
Cummins hoisted a kick from a scrum that took the German defence by surprise and as several players from both sides chased back, the bounce favoured Bendik Kalvik and he crossed in the corner, Cummins goaling.
There was little between the sides in the opening exchanges, scrum half Simon Viljoen nipped over for Norway in the 13th minute, but almost immediately Germany replied, with Halifax prop Connor Hampson plunging over.
Borsheim grabbed his first – Fredrik Norton with his second goal – but with completion rates high, Phil Hunz went over out wide on the half hour, Billsborough missing the kick.
Just before the half time whistle, Norway spread the ball again to send Borsheim over on the left, to make it 16-10 at the interval.
Three tries in 13 minutes swung the match the Norwegian’s way; Cummins stepping his way over, Milligan next to cross and Borsheim completing his hat trick with another fine finish just before the hour.
It shook the visitors who, seeing the league leadership slip from their grasp resorted to panic plays and, more often than not, spilled possession.
Kalvik’s try led to wild celebrations on the home bench, Germany scoring late consolations through prop Andrew Hoggins as he ploughed up the middle and hard working Billsborough.
In between, Borsheim claimed his fourth, Cummins again the provider.
Germany co-head coach Simon Cooper noted: “Congratulations to the Norwegians, they fully deserved the victory. Sadly, we just made too many errors, didn’t complete our sets and you can’t expect to win any game with that.”
Frank Kiriinya, Bendik Kalvik, Fredrik Nortun, Kristoffer Borsheim, Ole Magnus Brekk, Nathan Cummins, Simon Viljoen, Chris Stalsberg, Kristoffer Milligan, Ezra McIntyre, Harald Mikalsen, Kristian Nordin-Skipnes, Isaac Schmidt
Subs: Joshua Skidmore-Hornby, Kim Andre Seglem, Sonny Mellor, Nils Kristian Holte
Tries: Viljoen (13), Borsheim (24, 37, 57, 75), Cummins (44), Milligan (50), Kalvik (64),
Goals: Nortun 2/2, Cummins 2/6
Jannek Hagenah, Vivien Seelweger, George Wood, Sebastian Peter, David Ziekursch, Brad Billsborough, Marc Zupan, Connor Hampson, Liam Doughton, Andrew Hoggins, Martin Apostel, Josh Leutenecker, Phil Hunz
Subs: Benedikt Esser, Phil Wadewitz, Renko Fleming, Zak Bredin
Tries: Hampson (15), Hunz (31), Hoggins (73), Billsborough (79)
Goals: Bilsborough 3/4
Half time: 16-10
Referee: James Spencer
Man of the Match: Kristoffer Borsheim