Jose Mourinho predicted that England would get knocked out of the quarter-finals of this summer’s World Cup finals before the tournament got underway.
The Manchester United boss, speaking on Russia Today, thought Brazil would eliminate Gareth Southgate’s side in the knockout stages.
However, in a separate interview with Sky Sports last month, Mourinho said that he felt England did have the potential to win the 2018 World Cup.
“They have a good group of young but experienced players,” he said.
“All of them play in the best domestic competition in the world, the Premiership, all of them playing for the best teams, all of them with experience of playing Champions League, which is a high level of football, obviously. So I think yes, I think they can do it.”
England are now just three games away from winning the World Cup after defeating Colombia on penalties in the Round of 16 on Tuesday evening.
The Three Lions will now aim to seal their place in a World Cup semi-final for the first time 1990. Standing in their way are Sweden, who saw off Switzerland earlier on Tuesday.
Mourinho: Neymar isn't the only player in the wrong
“For many years England is not reaching this stage of the competition, so being in the quarter-finals, playing against Sweden, having for the semi-final the winner of Russia versus Croatia, I would say England has a golden chance to be in the World Cup final,” Mourinho told RT after England’ latest victory.
But even though Mourinho was largely impressed with what he saw from England in Moscow, he was disappointed to see Harry Maguire dive inside the Colombian penalty area.
“People are focusing on Neymar, but if it was only Neymar, I’d be happy, but it’s not only Neymar," Mourinho added.
“Every team has lots of diving, lots of pretending, lots of putting pressure on the referee… the game loses quality… and for me that was the negative point.
Mourinho was surprised by what he saw from Maguire
“It’s not about England and Colombia, it’s almost every match… [The players] are creating such a difficult job for the referees in every match, even with VAR the players are creating problems.
“I was surprised to see central defenders like Harry Maguire, normally he is a very honest guy, diving in the attacking box asking the referee for VAR.
“The players should feel the responsibility of playing in the World Cup in front of billions of spectators.”
You can watch the incident involving Maguire that Mourinho is referring to here…
In fairness to the revered Portuguese coach, he makes a perfectly valid point. No team at this World Cup is completely innocent when it comes to gamesmanship or, if you’d prefer, cheating.
Neymar has been heavily criticised for his playacting in recent days but he’s far from the only player who has deliberately attempted to deceive the referee in order to gain his team an advantage.News Now - Sport News