It’s the end of week three at the Rugby League World Cup, and the action keeps on getting better and better.
We now know the eight teams that will battle it out in next weekend’s quarter-finals as we zone in on the business end of the tournament with knockout rugby now on the table.
We take a closer look at how the action unfolded in the final round of group games and also cast one eye towards the upcoming quarter-finals.
Group stages wrapped up
England had already qualified from Group A, but they made it a clean sweep of victories by demolishing Greece 94-4 on Saturday and the hosts are now pushing for second-favouritism in the outright betting.
And they were followed into the last eight by Fiji, who secured the second spot in the table by edging out a battling Scotland 30-14 in Newcastle.
Hot favourites to lift the trophy, Australia defeated Italy 66-6 on Saturday to make it three wins from three in Group B – the Wallabies once again appear to be the team that everyone has to beat as they look to defend their title.
Sunday saw Samoa seal the runners-up spot in Group B when they defeated a lacklustre France 62-4 in Warrington.
New Zealand also ended the group stages undefeated, beating Ireland 48-10 on Friday to claim the top spot in Group C, and Lebanon joined them in the quarter-finals after cruising past Jamaica 74-12 in Leigh on Sunday.
And Group D saw Tonga and Papua New Guinea going through – Tonga thrashing the Cook Islands 92-10 on Sunday to make it three wins from three, and PNG dominating Wales 36-0 on Monday evening to book their slot in the last eight also.
This weekend sees four massive clashes, with the quarter-finals throwing up some tasty matchups as teams look to book their slots in the semi-finals.
The pressure will be ramped up from now on, with countries knowing that defeat will see them out of the tournament.
The quarter-finals kick-off on Friday evening when Australia take on Lebanon in Huddersfield – a clash that sees Lebanon coach Michael Cheika, the rugby union turned rugby league maverick, going up against his homeland.
Saturday sees two matches – England facing Papua New Guinea in Wigan before an all-Pacific clash in Hull as New Zealand face Fiji in what’s sure to be a bruising encounter.
It will be a packed house at the DW Stadium in Wigan as Shaun Wane’s England side look to take another step towards glory in a tournament they were tipped to struggle at.
The quarter-finals are completed with another all-Pacific battle as Tonga and Samoa go head-to-head in Warrington.