England vs Australia

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Former captain Michael Vaughan has backed England to win the World Cup ahead of their semi-final showdown with Australia. The Ashes rivals meet in Birmingham on Thursday with England aiming to keep their hopes of winning a first-ever World Cup alive and Australia going for a sixth title.

Australia are the most successful team in the history of the competition and have won their past four World Cup meetings with England, but Vaughan still expects Eoin Morgan’s side to progress to the final. If England beat Australia, they will face either India or New Zealand at Lord’s in Sunday’s final. Eoin Morgan’s side face Australia in the second semi-final (Picture: Getty) Asked who he believes will win the World Cup,

Vaughan told the Test Match Special podcast: ‘England, I think. But India will be very tough to beat in the final.’ England, who finished third in the group stage after winning six of their nine matches, looked set to face India in the semi-final but Australia slipped up in their final match to drop to second. ‘They won’t admit

it, but England will be quietly quite happy to play Australia,’ 2005 Ashes-winning captain Vaughan said. ‘It’s going to be a difficult game but if you had to pick one of the two you would pick Australia at Edgbaston, knowing you won’t have to play them at Lord’s.’ Morgan’s side suffered a comprehensive defeat to Australia at Lord’s last month but boast a superb record in Birmingham, winning their last four ODIs at the venue.

The Aussies thrashed England at Lord’s last month (Picture: Getty) They also knocked Australia out of the Champions Trophy with a 40-run victory at Edgbaston two years ago. Vaughan added: ‘Edgbaston and Trent Bridge are two of the grounds where you arrive feeling very, very comfortable as an England player, so England will be delighted to play there. ‘The fact England have won two must-win games on the trot must stand them in good stead that they can cope with that pressure. ‘But they also know Australia gave them a good hiding a few weeks ago. I just look at left-arm seam bowlers and I look at Lord’s in particular.

‘Australia have two left-arm quicks. Because of the slope it can be a real advantage to have left-armers, so they are playing at a ground where I don’t think it plays a bigger part.’ England are bidding to win the World Cup for the first time in history (Picture: Getty) England face Australia in their first semi-final appearance since 1992.

The team have not won a World Cup knockout match in 27 years. But Vaughan believes the hosts are the ‘favourites’ to lift the trophy and says anything but ultimate victory will be considered a ‘failure’. ‘England over the course of the past four years have managed to beat everyone in all conditions and now it’s time to show they can do it under the upmost pressure,’ he said. ‘Failure for England for me is not winning. They are such a good team. They are favourites, they have to go on and win it.’

England, Australia, India and New Zealand will battle it out to be crowned champions after progressing to the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

A five-week, 45-match group stage drew to a close this weekend, leaving just four teams still in with a chance of lifting the World Cup trophy at Lord’s come July 14. And it was the four best sides – according to the rankings, at least – who qualified for the knockout stages, with group leaders India facing New Zealand in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

Two days later, host nation England – bidding to win the ICC Men’s World Cup for the first time – will attempt to reach the final by knocking out defending champions Australia. India v New Zealand (Emirates Old Trafford, Tuesday, 10.30am) Virat Kohli has led India to the World Cup semi-finals (Picture: Getty) What happened in the group stage? For India, the group stage was a relatively straightforward affair. After having to wait almost a week to kick-start their campaign, Virat Kohli’s side won their opening two games before their encounter with New Zealand was abandoned. An emphatic and joyful victory over rivals Pakistan followed, before the two-time winners secured maximum points from their games against Afghanistan and West Indies, despite being pushed all the way by the former.

Defeat to England mattered little to India, who recovered to beat Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and finish top of the group stage. Considering their consistent performances over the month, it was nothing more than they deserved. New Zealand need to regroup after three consecutive defeats (Picture: Getty) New Zealand enjoyed an equally strong start, securing three straight wins before the India wash-out.

Narrow triumphs over South Africa and West Indies followed, before Kane Williamson’s side tasted defeat for the first time in the competition at the hands of Pakistan. That loss would mark the start of a tricky period for the Kiwis, who were subsequently beaten by Australia and England to ensure they enter the semi-finals on the back of three successive defeats.

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