England will still play their World Cup quarter-final at the DW Stadium on Saturday November 5, even if they finish runner-up to Samoa in Group A.
The tournament bracket has the Group A winner’s quarter-final in Wigan, with the Group A runners-up slated to play their last eight game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.
But World Cup organisers have confirmed to Love Rugby League that if England make it through to the quarter-finals, their game will be at the DW Stadium whatever happens.
That means any potential semi-final involving England will be held at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC.
The format explained
There are four pools of four in the group stage, with the top two from each group progressing to the quarter-finals.
The eight quarter-finalists will automatically qualify for the next World Cup in France 2025.
England and Samoa are favourites to progress from Group A, which also includes France and Greece.
The winner of the group will face the runner-up from Group D, with the winner of Group D facing the runner-up of Group A.
Group D is made up of Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Wales and Cook Islands.
Some fans had been purchasing tickets for the quarter-final at Warrington, on the basis that England could finish second due to the strength of the Samoa side.
England coach Shaun Wane even conceded last week: “We’ll be huge underdogs in that opener. Samoa will be strong favourites. We need to be very good first up to get the win against them and we know that.”
The quarter-final at the DW Stadium is scheduled for Saturday November 5 (2.30pm), with the game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium following 24 hours later.
Warrington was a late replacement for the quarter-final stage, after Bolton’s University of Bolton Stadium withdrew due to a schedule clash.
The first quarter-final will be held at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield (7.30pm) between the winner of Group B and the runner-up of Group C.
The Group C winner plays the Group B runner up at the MKM Stadium in Hull on Saturday November 5 (7.30pm).
Australia are heavy favourites for Group B, which includes Fiji, Scotland and Italy.
Group C will be contested by New Zealand, Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland.