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Flintoff knows it's time to perform

Andrew Flintoff has conceded England has no chance of upsetting Australia in its World Cup clash this weekend unless his team can show a dramatic improvement.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has already said he had been surprised by England's lacklustre showing so far after it arrived in the Caribbean full of momentum having surged to victory over his side in the tri-series finals.

Michael Vaughan's team advanced to the second phase of the World Cup with wins over Canada and Kenya in the group stage, but that was offset by defeat to its only quality opponent, New Zealand.

It was also less than convincing in a 48-run win over Ireland in the opening Super Eight match, and faces a major test before meeting Australia on Sunday when it squares off against surging Sri Lanka in Antigua tonight .

Flintoff, determined to put his troubled start behind him after a drunken pedalo incident in St Lucia which cost him the England vice-captaincy, has called on his teammates to lift.

"We are the first to admit we haven't set this World Cup on fire yet," he said.

"I am honest enough to say I can play better than I have done out here so far and I am sure most of the lads would say the same.

"OK, we've reached the second stage of this tournament and that's not something we've done in a long while.

"After losing to New Zealand, we've put in two professional performances against Kenya and Ireland.

"But nobody in this squad is kidding themselves that's going to be good enough against Sri Lanka or Australia. We must step up.

"So far, we've got by with a few lads firing but that's not going to trouble Sri Lanka and Australia this week. You have got to be at your best to compete with those teams."

Flintoff finally had some impact on the scoreboard when he made 43 and took 4-43 with the ball against Ireland in Guyana last week.

His good form came at some cost when he twisted his ankle, but team officials insist he will be fit for tonight's clash.

"I am desperate to do well," he said. "I faced just one ball against New Zealand, didn't play against Canada and didn't bat against Kenya, so I was desperate for time in the middle against Ireland.

"It wasn't that I felt out of touch, I just hadn't batted.I had come through the group stage without scoring a single run.

"There is more to come with my bowling, too. It was nice to get four wickets against the Irish and, hopefully, the challenge of the stronger teams is going to bring out the best in me and the rest of this English team."

England must defeat either Sri Lanka or Australia to have a realistic chance of making the semi-finals.

Flintoff says it's time England showed it was a force in the game's premier one-day tournament.

"This is my third World Cup but the first time I've progressed beyond the first group stage," he said.

"I want this side to do something special."

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