England pair Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard delivered a World Cup "wake-up call" to team-mates after boss Roy Hodgson asked them to address staff.
They warned team-mates they would face a summer of misery and regret if their Brazil 2014 ambitions were wrecked by Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
England face a battle to progress after losing their opening game to Italy.
"It wasn't to scare any of the lads but a wake-up call to everyone - staff and players," captain Gerrard said.
"I have had that feeling of going out of a major tournament. I know what that feeling is about and that is the feeling I don't want come Friday morning.
"That is the reality of where we are. We need everyone focused and right on it to perform individually and collectively on Thursday otherwise it will be a terrible, long summer."
Midfield veterans Gerrard, 34, and Lampard, 35, who have 217 caps between them and have played in six major international tournaments each, addressed the squad on Sunday night. Hodgson had called the team meeting at their Rio base to reflect on the state of play in Group D.
Liverpool skipper Gerrard is at his third World Cup after missing the 2002 tournament in Japan through injury. He was in the England side that lost on penalties to Portugal in the 2006 quarter-final in Germany and captained Fabio Capello's side as they lost 4-1 to Germany in the last 16 in South Africa four years ago.
"A lot of people in the dressing room already know that," said Gerrard. "But we have a few young lads and it was important for them to realise what is at stake and how important this game is.
"We all need to leave everything on that pitch. If a defeat was to happen it is probably the most difficult place to be as a footballer.
"There is no hiding place for a player when you go out of a tournament. You go home earlier than you expect. It can be tough as a player and it can take an awful long time to get over it."
Uruguay, who look certain to recall Gerrard's Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez after knee surgery, are equally desperate for a win after going down 3-1 to Costa Rica in their first match.
|Suarez v Sturridge in the Premier League 2013/14|
|Goals per game||0.94||0.72|
|Goals with head||3||4|
|Goals with left foot||8||14|
|Goals with right foot||20||2|
|Goals with other||0||1|