Joe Root asserted on Friday that his team outmatch their arch-rivals "player for player," despite their current last-place position.
As the defending champions struggle with only one win in six matches, a potential loss to Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday would signal the end of their subdued title defence.
Root, as reported by the British media, expressed, "When comparing player by player, I'd pick our team over the Australians any day. While we might not have showcased our full potential, we're aware that when we hit our peak, even the finest teams find it challenging to compete against us."
He further emphasised, "We must view Saturday as our World Cup final and perform in the manner both expected of us and expected by ourselves."
Australia's captain, Pat Cummins, humorously responded to Root's remarks on Friday, stating, "Naturally, he would say that, and I would say the same about our team. There's no need to read too much into it."
Australia currently holds the third position in the standings and is on track for the semi-finals. In contrast, England has faced a series of four consecutive losses, including defeats to Afghanistan and, most recently, the hosts, India, marking a profoundly disappointing tournament for the 2019 champions.
With England ranking at the bottom of the 10-team table, even the Netherlands has surpassed them, raising concerns about their qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan. England must secure a top-seven finish to secure their place in the 50-over tournament.
Root admitted that England's World Cup performance had been a painful experience, stating, "It's always painful to find ourselves in this position, languishing at the bottom of the table. This is not the standard we set for ourselves. If it serves as an extra motivator, then that's great."
In the tournament's six matches, Root has scored 175 runs, but his previous four scores of zero, three, two, and 11 mirror England's inconsistent performances. Despite this, Root expressed confidence in his form, saying, "I feel really good about my game. It's been disheartening not to maintain more consistency, which is what I expect of myself. Saturday offers another chance to score runs and deliver what I and the team expect."