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October 22, 2006
Andrew Flintoff has unsurprisingly brushed off suggestions England will now be under more pressure going into next month's Ashes series after losing to Australia in the Champions Trophy on Saturday.
England's chances of qualifying for the semi-finals virtually ended on Saturday when they crashed to a six-wicket defeat, their second successive loss. They will now clash with West Indies in their last league game at Ahmedabad on October 28.
"We took this match in isolation," he said, "as a must-win game for both the sides to stay in the tournament." Regardless of Flintoff's attempts to play down defeat - "In the build-up people were trying to link it to the Ashes," he said, "but the Ashes start when we go to Australia" - the Australians will be boosted greatly by their victory in India.
Flintoff did concede his young side needed to improve considerably if they wanted to give a good account of themselves in coming months. "It is an exciting time in one-day cricket. But we need to improve," said Flintoff. "It is a young side. We have to step up as a team if we have the aspirations of doing well later in this winter."
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