With the Rugby League World Cup gearing up for the knock-out quarter-finals this weekend, viewers have already experienced their fair share of excitement from the opening three weeks. And, with four mouth-watering ties on the horizon, the thrill for Rugby League fans is only going to increase. As the business end of the tournament approaches, it is, therefore, time to take a look back at the five best bits of the World Cup so far.

France produce another Les Miserables as Lebanon shock

The opening weekend of the tournament saw France and Lebanon - the latter an unknown quantity before the World Cup - do battle for what would be the third qualifying spot from a fiercely competitive Group A which included holders Australia and third-ranked side England.

Most pundits and fans expected the French to easily overcome the Lebanese in what was only the Cedars' second appearance at a World Cup following their creation in 1998.

Yet, Lebanon had other ideas; with the youthful talent Mitchell Moses and the veteran Robbie Farah organising proceedings, the Cedars were simply too strong for the French. A fantastic performance from Moses saw him rack up 13 points, including a drop-goal to edge his team out 19-18 and then a wonderful chip-and-chase to finally swing the momentum Lebanon's way. A 29-18 victory was enough for the Cedars to progress to the quarter-finals; it was a result which made the Rugby League world sit up and take notice.

Port Moresby passion

When Papua New Guinea (PNG) played host to Wales at the National Football Stadium in the capital, Port Moresby, viewers expected to witness something out of the ordinary given the island nation's deep affinity with the sport.

However, what the Papuans delivered was nothing short of spectacular: the noise and colour were unlike anything a British viewer had ever come across before. And, when Papuan dancers -dressed up in native clothing, complete with stunning face and body paint - began their pre-match ritual, the atmosphere reached fever pitch amongst the sell-out crowd.

Rugby League is akin to a religion in Papua New Guinea; Papuans walk miles over mountains and through jungles just to watch a rugby match and, with the World Cup in their country for the very first time, they were understandably excited. Each time their heroes have scored in their opening three games - whether in the 50-6 demolition of Wales, the close 14-6 victory over Ireland, or the 64-0 thrashing of the USA - the fans have treated the try with the same gusto: a deafening, triumphant roar.

It really is something you would need to see to believe. It's just a shame that, following the group stages, no other matches will be held in the Papuan capital despite PNG progressing to the knock-out rounds.

A hymn to end all hymns

Very few national sides - if any - in any sport, sing a hymn before and after a game. Fiji is the exception; the Noqu Masa, or in English 'My Prayer', is both incredible and emotional. The silence throughout the stadium once the Fijians begin their harmony is exceptional; it truly is one of the most sensational things to ever witness on the Rugby League field and sends shivers down one's spine for the duration of the hymn.

When performing the Noqu Masa, the Fijian players exude a passion and pride that demonstrates their clear love for their country. And, when the hymn has ended - it lasts for just short of a minute - there is an almost gasp of appreciation throughout the stadium at the magnificent sight the spectators have just witnessed.

Samoa and Tonga dance-off in incredible style

In the second round of fixtures, Tonga played Samoa in a pulsating affair full of passion and big-hits that had viewers on the edge of their seats. The tone of the game had been set even before the kick-off as both sides faced each other's traditional war dances simultaneously.

The culture of the Pacific Islands is remarkable and, if anyone needed reminding of the Samoan and Tongan war dances here they were: the Siva Tau of Samoa and the Sipi Tau of Tonga played out together in emphatic fashion. It truly was a fantastic spectacle that will live long in the tournament's memory.

Tonga create history

Number one cannot be anything but Tonga's brilliant victory over New Zealand last weekend. It was the first time that Tonga had ever beaten the Kiwis and it was a game that had everything. The spectators at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton were always going to witness a frenetic and highly emotional game after the "war of words" exchanged between the two sides before the match.

With Adam Blair's scathing attack on Jason Taumalolo after the latter switched his allegiance to Tonga and the Tongan reply that they would "let rip" on Blair, there was already a pressure-cooker of emotion building up within both sides before the day of the game. This emotion threatened to spill over as the two sides literally came head-to-head when the Kiwis marched to the Tongan line whilst performing the infamous Haka. Then, Tonga launched their formidable Sipi Tau, led by Taumalolo, which left the Hamilton crowd just as breathless.

The performance on the field was no less fiery as both teams went toe-to-toe for 80 rip-roaring minutes.

Tonga, down 16-2 at the break, produced one of the most brilliant comebacks in Rugby League history to triumph 22-28. It was a result that may well have altered the Rugby League equilibrium in the southern hemisphere forever.