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England ready for must-win encounter

AAP logoAAP 12/11/2016 Ian McCullough

Buoyed by Scotland's brave and thoroughly deserved draw against New Zealand, England head into Sunday's (Monday 0100 AEDT) clash against Australia knowing that it's win, draw or bust.

With points differential no longer an issue the home side have to worry about, Wayne Bennett's men can even head into the game knowing a point will be enough to take them into the decider at Anfield next weekend.

Although the Kangaroos are already through to the final without kicking a ball, thanks to the Scots, England centre Kallum Watkins maintains his side's focus and mindset hasn't altered.

"They're a great team, but these are the games you want to play in, against the best teams and the best players," Watkins said.

"The focus is on ourselves to play our best and come up with a game-plan that can stop the Aussies and make sure we play to the best of our ability."

Former St George Illawarra prop Mike Cooper says despite the shock result in Workington on Friday, there is no expectation of Australia taking their foot off the gas as the hosts look to beat the Kangaroos for the first time in a decade.

"We're going to have to raise the bar a little bit," Cooper said.

"We just need to be a bit more smart with what we do with the ball and take our opportunities when we get them.

"We've created enough opportunities but we've sort of rushed what we do a little bit. We need to execute better because against Australia we're not going to get too many chances."

Cooper has no doubt about the impact an England victory on Sunday could have on the game in a soccer-obsessed country..

"It's massively important for us," said Cooper, who is returning home next season after a three-year stint with the Dragons.

"I think it's important for the game in this country that we get a win and progress to the final."

"It would mean the world to us to make the final and hopefully go on and win it but I think it's so important for the game moving forward in this country."

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