WATCH: Eoin Morgan looks ahead to England's World Cup semi-final with Australia

Captain Eoin Morgan says his England side are full of belief at making the World Cup final as they prepare to face Australia in Thursday's semi-final.

Eoin Morgan wants his England side to embrace the fact they are "living the dream" of a World Cup semi-final against Australia.

Occasions do not come much bigger for England cricketers - though a Lord's final on Sunday would fit the bill should they win at Edgbaston - and the captain fully appreciates the scale of the opportunity.

"Sometimes I'm guilty of it, you can lose sight of the position you're in and the fact you're living your dream," he said.

"I think it's possible to play with a smile on your face tomorrow."

Asked if his side were feeling excited, nervous or simply focused on the task at hand, he said: "All of those things. But I think excitement probably should be the dominant one.

"Everyone is excited to play this semi-final. The fact that through the group stages getting to this stage looked unlikely, or was called into question, makes it even more exciting for us."

England's record v Australia is encouraging

Morgan's side have established a proud recent record against Australia, winning 10 of the last 11 one-day internationals between the old rivals prior to this tournament.

That counted for nothing in the group stages, when Australia claimed a 64-run win at Lord's to nudge the hosts towards the brink.

"We're probably more confident than we were three games ago, we're a different team," he said.

"The loss against Sri Lanka hurt us. I don't think we were playing anywhere near our best cricket, there was a hangover from the Sri Lanka game.

"It feels like we're back to the team we are."

England v Australia talking points

Morgan urges England to live the dream

Captain Eoin Morgan cranked up England's feel-good factor on Wednesday, urging his players to remember quite what a World Cup semi-final means. Morgan called on his squad not to lose sight of the fact they are "living your dream", while also insisting England are back to their best. The pre-tournament favourites ground their way to the knockout stages courtesy of two late victories over India and New Zealand, and that after losses to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. Morgan also insisted England are a team transformed from that 64-run loss to Australia at Lord's in the group stages. The skipper knows his side must now back up those words when battle commences on Thursday.

Australia play down Maxwell training absence

Big-hitting batsman Glenn Maxwell sat out Australia's training session on Wednesday, their final run-through ahead of that semi-final with England. Captain Aaron Finch scotched suggestions that meant Maxwell would not feature against England however. First Finch insisted Wednesday's training session was optional, a point Australia have stressed about certain sessions at different intervals through the tournament. Then Finch backed Maxwell to be back in the runs and quickly, after a patchy run of form in the tournament so far.

Will the right fans make it to the right match

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been contacting all ticket holders in the last 48 hours, urging them to put any now unwanted tickets on the World Cup's official resale platform. The tournament chiefs hope anyone now not using their ticket will take advantage of the service, where so far some 70,000 punters have sold on tickets during the competition. Australia's loss to South Africa in the final group game led to a last-minute switch of the semi-final line-ups, leaving many fans scrambling to swap tickets and end up at the right match. The ICC has been at pains to remind ticket holders how to use the resale platform and is confident on Thursday's crowd.

What about the pitch

Tournament bosses insist they have not made any orders over pitches other than for ground staff to prepare the best possible surfaces. The pre-competition expectations of firm, fast batting tracks have simply not materialised however, markedly altering tactics in the middle. Gone have been the massive scores, replaced instead by enthralling, tight run chases and a fine contest between bat and ball. Should the same materialise again in Birmingham on Thursday, both sides could have to toil for runs.

England's semi-final record

Cricket World Cup 1975 - semi-final v Australia, Headingley, Leeds

England reached the semi-finals in the first edition of the Cricket World Cup but were defeated by Australia. In what is still the best World Cup performance to date by a bowler, Gary Gilmour took six for 14 with England bowled out for 93 after having fallen to 37 for seven. Australia also fell to 39 for six before Gilmour hit 28 runs from 28 balls to seal a four-wicket victory.

Cricket World Cup 1979 - semi-final v New Zealand, Old Trafford, Manchester

New Zealand elected to bowl after winning the toss and England quickly fell to 38 for two. However, 53 from Mike Brearley and 71 from Graham Gooch lifted England's innings with the final score reaching 221. New Zealand's John Wright hit 69 but the loss of wickets hampered their efforts. After failing to hit the required 14 runs in the final over, England went on to play the West Indies in the final but lost by 92 runs.

Cricket World Cup 1983 - semi-final v India, Old Trafford, Manchester

England won the toss and elected to bat but restrictive Indian bowling led them to be bowled out for 213. In response, India's Yashpal Sharma and Sandeep Patil made half-centuries as they reached their target in 54.4 overs, winning by six wickets and subjecting England to another semi-final defeat.

ICC Champions Trophy 2004 - semi-final v Australia, Edgbaston, Birmingham

England faced Australia in their first Champions Trophy semi-final and elected to bowl. Darren Gough took three for 48 as Australia reached 259 for nine. England's Michael Vaughan hit 86 in reply as the target was reached after 46.3 overs with England notching 262 for four. The West Indies awaited in the final but England went on to lose by two wickets.

ICC Champions Trophy 2009 - semi-final v Australia, SuperSport Park, Centurion, South Africa

After defeat in the 2004 semi-final, Australia claimed revenge over their rivals. Tim Bresnan hit an impressive 80 but England were all out for 257. The Aussies made their victory look easy, losing only one wicket as they reached their target with Shane Watson hitting 136 not out. Australia went on to beat New Zealand by six wickets in the final.

ICC World Twenty20 2010 - semi-final v Sri Lanka, Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia

The third edition of the World Twenty20 tournament took place 10 months after the second due to the cancellation of the Champions Trophy in 2008. Sri Lanka were all out for 128 as Stuart Broad took two for 21. After a score of 42 from Kevin Pietersen, England reached their target in 16 overs leaving them to face Australia in the final. After another fine Pietersen performance, linking up for an 111-run partnership with Paul Collingwood, England claimed their first International Cricket Council world championship.

ICC Champions Trophy 2013 - semi-final v South Africa, The Oval, London

England elected to bowl after winning the toss and James Tredwell took an impressive three for 19 in seven overs as South Africa were bowled out for 175. Jonathan Trott's 82 was the top score for England as they reached their target - losing only three wickets in the process. They went on to face India in the final at Edgbaston but narrowly lost by five runs.

ICC World Twenty20 2016 - semi-final v New Zealand, Feroz Shah Kolta, Delhi

England won the toss and elected to bowl with New Zealand reaching 153 for eight from their 20 overs. England replied as Jason Roy scored the second-fastest half-century for an English player in a World Twenty20 match as he reached the landmark off 26 balls. The target was met after 17.1 overs as England progressed to the final where they were narrowly beaten by the West Indies.

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - semi-final v Pakistan, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

After qualifying for the semi-finals by winning their first two group games, England faced Pakistan in Cardiff. Joe Root hit 46 as Hasan Ali took three for 35 with England reaching 211 before they were bowled out. Pakistan lost only two wickets as they reached their target in 37.1 overs after Azhar Ali finished with 76. They went on to beat rivals India by 180 runs in the final.

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