England have been placed in a "super pool" with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for the group stages of the 2008 World Cup.
Australia are the reigning World champions
There will be 10 teams in total, with Pool One containing four teams and the other two pools containing three.
The top three teams from Pool One - the "super pool" - will go through to the semi-finals, while the other two pool winners play off to join them.
The final will take place in Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on 22 November.
Holders and hosts Australia will get the 13th World Cup under way against New Zealand in Sydney on 25 October, with England opening their campaign against Papua New Guinea the following day.
The tournament format is designed to prevent a repeat of the many one-sided matches in the 2000 event.
Nineteen nations entered the 2008 World Cup and seven have already secured a place in Australia.
Australia, New Zealand, England, France and Papua New Guinea are automatic entries, while Tonga and Fiji have qualified via the Pacific Cup.
Seven other teams - Ireland, Lebanon, Russia, Scotland, Wales, the United States and Samoa - are vying for the remaining three places.
In addition to hosting the final, the Suncorp Stadium will also host a semi-final and at least three of the remaining 17 matches in the tournament.
Sydney has been guaranteed a semi-final and a minimum of five pool matches, and fixtures have been confirmed in Townsville, Robina and Melbourne, with negotiations on-going at other regional venues.
"Already the tournament has achieved an enormous amount in promoting the game in developing nations," said Colin Love, chairman of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).
"There's a real sense of anticipation building in those countries still working to qualify.
"There's enormous enthusiasm for the game internationally and the spirit of World Cups in all sports is to respect the so-called minnows as much as the established stars.
"It will also, as shown in last year's Tri-Nations final, showcase the remarkable rivalries of traditional powers such as Australia, England and New Zealand.
"It's a compelling event not only for rugby league fans but for all sports fans.
"Australians love to give an 'underdog' a go and World Cups are a celebration of that very spirit."
Tickets for the 2008 World Cup will go on sale in August 2007.
2008 World Cup pools:
Pool 1: Australia, New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea
Pool 2: France, Fiji, winner Euro A Pool 2
Pool 3: Tonga, winner repechage, winner Euro A Pool 1
2008 World Cup schedule:
Saturday, October 25: Australia v New Zealand
Sunday Oct 26: England v Papua New Guinea
Sunday October 26: Euro A Pool 1 v Tonga
Sunday October 26: France v Euro A Pool 2
Friday October 31: Fiji v France
Friday Oct 31: Tonga v Repechage
Saturday November 1: New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
Sunday November 2: Australia v England
Wednesday November 5: Euro A Pool 2 v Fiji
Wednesday November 5: Euro A Pool 1 v Repechage
Saturday November 8: England v New Zealand
Sunday November 9: Papua New Guinea v Australia
Monday November 10: Semi-final qualifier for Pool two and Pool three winners
Tuesday November 11: Ranking match, Pool 2 second place v Pool 3 third place
Friday November 14: Ranking match, Pool 2 third place v Pool 3 third place
Friday November 14: Ranking match, Pool 1 fourth place v semi-final qualifier loser
Saturday November 15: Semi-final one
Sunday November 16: Semi-final two
Saturday November 22: Final