Into the third and final week of the Rugby League World Cup pool stages, the big name sides are already assured of advancing through to the quarter-finals.

However, some of the top tier sides need to win to ensure an easier path while a couple of the minnow teams are on the verge of breaking through to the knock-out stages for the first time.

We take a look at all of the permutations from the final round of pool fixtures and ahead to the business end of the tournament.

Fiji v Italy at Canberra Stadium, 9.40pm


Fiji should be too strong for Italy but even a narrow defeat would be enough for them to progress to a quarter-final against the loser of New Zealand and Tonga (the second-ranked side in Pool B).

Italy's hopes look dashed unless they can pile on at least 45 points against Fiji.

New Zealand v Tonga at Waikato Stadium, 5pm

Former Kiwis forward Jason Taumalolo carts it up for Tonga. Photo / Getty Images.
Former Kiwis forward Jason Taumalolo carts it up for Tonga. Photo / Getty Images.

Both sides are assured of quarter-final spots however Saturday's match still has a lot at stake. The winner will finish top of Pool B and likely face Lebanon next week, while staying on the opposite side of the draw to Australia.

The loser will be confronted with a more difficult assignment against Fiji (the top side from Pool D), with a semi-final against the Kangaroos looming.

No matter where they finish, the Kiwis will play their quarter-final in Wellington while Tonga are booked to play in Christchurch.

Samoa v Scotland at Barlow Park, Cairns, 7.15pm

Samoa look all but assured of posting their first win against a shambolic Scotland side, which would see them advance to an unenviable quarter-final against Australia.

The Bravehearts campaign is all but over after back-to-back thrashings at the hands of Tonga and New Zealand - would take a miracle for them to upset Samoa.

Australia v Lebanon at Sydney Football Stadium, 10pm

Australia have already booked passage to the quarter-finals and are almost certain to finish top of Pool A, which will see them play the winner of Friday's clash between Samoa and Scotland (the third-ranked side from Pool B) in Darwin.

Lebanon also appear assured of making the quarter-finals for the first time, with their week one win over France likely seeing them finish third in Pool A, pitting them against the winner of New Zealand v Tonga (the top side in Pool B).

USA v Papua New Guinea at Oil Search National Football Stadium, 6pm

USA have struggled so far and face an uphill battle against Papua New Guinea in front-of what's expected to be a sell-out crowd - win or lose their tournament will come to an end.

Papua New Guinea should be too strong and have all but secured top spot in Pool C and appear en route to a quarter-final against England (the runner up in Pool A).

Ireland v Wales at Perth Rectangular Stadium, 8.30pm

Ireland look to have the edge over Wales but would need to post a big win to give them any hope of usurping Papua New Guinea to finish top of Pool C.

Will be hard-pressed to overcome Ireland but even a win won't be enough to prolong their campaign

France v England at Perth Rectangular Stadium, 11pm

France's chances of making the knock-out stages took a dive after their first-up loss to Lebanon - only a huge upset win over England could revive their quarter-final hopes.

England have been unconvincing over the opening fortnight, losing to Australia before outclassing Lebanon, but only need to account for France to finish second in Pool A and book a quarter-final match-up against Papua New Guinea (the top side of Pool C).

Likely quarter-finals

*Top three teams from Pool A and Pool B advance, and top sides from Pool C and Pool D

Friday, November 17

Australia v Samoa, Darwin Stadium, Darwin, 10pm

Saturday, November 18

Tonga v Fiji, Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch, 5pm

New Zealand v Lebanon, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, 7.30pm

Sunday, November 19

England v Papua New Guinea, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, 6pm