England coach Clive Woodward admitted it took some straight talking at half time to put the World Cup dream back on track against Wales.
England ground their way to a 28-17 victory but were outscored three tries to one and trailed 10-3 at the break.
"We're extremely relieved but it was about winning," said Woodward
"There were some pretty harsh words at half-time and some colourful language but we got the message across.
"Some of the decision making was not up to our usual standard but we are still winning.
"Well done Wales though. We took them seriously and we are glad to win.
"But we'll have to have a few harsh words next week and have a serious look at our game."
England will meet France in the semi-final in Sydney next Sunday, after Les Bleus demolished Ireland 43-21.
But Woodward admitted that England would have to improve significantly if they are to stay in the competition.
"If we play them like we did today we've got no chance," said Woodward.
"We've got to up the ante next week and hopefully we'll get the full side out.
"But we've come here to win the World Cup and hopefully we'll fire on all cylinders next week."
England captain Martin Johnson admitted that the first half was disappointing but he felt that after the break his side took control.
"Particularly in the first half I think we battered into them
but they defended well and hit us on the break," he said.
"We didn't convert our chances but in the second half we pretty much dominated.
"They did well to finish as they did with the try and get back into it
but we were too sloppy to be satisfied.
"I would say though we were down against Samoa and Wales but have battled
back our way back. We started well in the second half and took the points when
they were there.
"I felt we were in control of the second half pretty much until they scored,
which made them dangerous.
"Guys were open and we got turned over. Their defence was on top of us and we
had to keep battling."