Chennai - England captain Andrew Strauss said the fear of more World Cup embarrassment had been a key motivating factor as his side stayed alive after a thrilling 18-run win over the West Indies.
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Thursday's success at the Chidambaram Stadium meant England retained a shot at the quarter-finals - which they will be in if South Africa, already through to the last eight, beat Bangladesh on Saturday.
England were indebted to World Cup debutants James Tredwell and Luke Wright against the West Indies.
The men from the Caribbean were all but into the quarter-finals themselves when they were 222 for six chasing 244 for victory.
But off-spinner Tredwell, man-of-the-match with four for 38, had all-rounder Andre Russell lbw for 49 to spark a collapse that saw the West Indies lose their last four wickets for three runs as they were bowled out for 225.
Earlier, Wright's 44 had been vital in taking England to 243 all out after they had been 151 for six.
England's see-saw World Cup has seen then involved in several nailbiters.
They tied with India, lost to both Ireland and Bangladesh, but still beat South Africa by six runs on another spin-friendly Chennai pitch.
"I was buoyed by the thought we had one more opportunity to show what we could actually do in this World Cup," Strauss said.
"None of us wanted to go home tomorrow morning, and we were very motivated to not let that happen.
"We've been through some pretty tough times together this winter as a group - and we didn't want to be leaving the World Cup at this stage."
The opening batsman added: "We've obviously got to rely on other results going our way. But if we do progress in this tournament, we've got to be a lot better than we have been. We're not going to hide from that.
"But it's one of those situations where you've got to be in it to win it."
Ashes-winners England were without star batsman Kevin Pietersen (hernia) and paceman Stuart Broad (side strain), after both were forced out of the World Cup through injury.
So too, subsequently, was seamer Ajmal Shahzad (hamstring), and England then dropped the experienced but struggling duo of new-ball bowler James Anderson and batting all-rounder Paul Collingwood.
"It's so tough when you're sitting on the outside looking on all the time, waiting for your turn - and a lot of the time you probably think your turn isn't going to come," Strauss said.
"To bring Wright and Tredwell in for a massive game was a bit of a gamble. But I felt Wright played exceptionally well when wickets were falling around him, and Tredwell was outstanding.
"They stood up and delivered when it really counted."
Modest 29-year-old Tredwell, playing only his fourth one-dayer, and selected as England's second spinner behnd Graeme Swann, said: "I just tried to approach it like any other game, concentrated on my own skills and then stay calm so that I could produce them."