Saturday 25 May 2019

Jose Mourinho gives his verdict on England's World Cup opener and the shock results so far in Russia

Some of the big teams have got off to a bumpy start
Some of the big teams have got off to a bumpy start
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jose Mourinho has backed England to buck the trend of big teams failing to pick up victories in their opening World Cup games, as the Manchester United boss backed them to beat Tunisia on Monday night.

Pre-tournament favourites Spain, Germany, Brazil and Argentina all failed to win their opening group matches, but Mourinho is convinced Gareth Southgate’s side will get three points in their opening match in Volgograd.

“I watched Tunisia against Portugal in the last friendly that Portugal played before the World Cup and, honestly, I didn’t like much,” he told Russia Today.

“I consider Tunisia a similar team in terms of potential and style to Morocco, for example. I think England should win, but Brazil should win, Germany should win and Argentina should win, so I don’t know.

“Tomorrow is a day where two strong teams and two strong squads in Belgium and England come to play with three at the back plus wing-backs, so let’s see how the smaller teams are going to adapt to that.”

Mourinho also backed the Germany bounce back from opening game defeat against Mexico, as he also suggested Argentina and Brazil will progress in the tournament despite opening draws against Iceland and Switzerland.

“I don’t think it’s a drama for the big nations,” he added. “I think they all know how good they are. I think they all know they are going to improve.

“It’s probably good for them to put their feet on the ground and it’s probably good for their countrymen also to keep calm.

“Obviously in big football nations, there are lots of expectations. Critics will come. Not my profile of pundit, but other profiles love the blood. They will come strong immediately.

“They all will qualify and the best of these top teams will come in the knock-out.

“The reality is that some of the teams are showing they can be better than the sum of their parts. Have Switzerland got a special player? They don’t have that, but the goalkeeper was solid, Schar was fantastic, the midfield was solid. Seferovic was not dangerous but he worked fantastically well for the team.

“The sum of the parts was better than the sum of the individuals. In 10 times, they can get three draws and win one - and this is the beauty of football.”

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