2007 World Cup March 17, 2007

Fletcher remains optimistic

Cricinfo staff

'The side has showed a lot of character before and hopefully they'll do it again' © Getty Images

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, insisted all is not lost for England, despite losing comprehensively to New Zealand in their opening match on Friday.

After restricting England to a modest 209 for 7, New Zealand raced to the target with nine overs to spare, in spite of slipping to 19 for 3 earlier in their innings. "It was an important game for us," Fletcher said. "We realise we had to win four out of the seven games to get to the World Cup semi-final and having lost that one we've now got four out of six which makes our task a little bit harder.

"To get an early win is a huge advantage but everything is not lost yet. We've lost before and come back strongly."

England showed impressive character in Australia, to come back and win the Commonwealth Bank series, but their middle-order has shown a worrying fragility in the warm-ups - and particularly against New Zealand yesterday; they lost their big trio of Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff in the space of seven balls.

"It's crucial we don't lose the middle order, especially that experienced middle-order we've got," Fletcher said. "The side has showed a lot of character before and hopefully they'll do it again."

England face Canada on Sunday at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.