​With the 2018 World Cup about to kick off, anticipation for the tournament in Russia has reached fever pitch. In England, expectations are beginning to reach unprecedented levels, with many of the opinion that Gareth Southgate's side could be the best the country has had in years.


If the praise from fans and the media wasn't enough, England have now gained an A-list admirer in the form of ​Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who has backed the Three Lions for success in Russia this summer.

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In an interview with ​Sky Sports, Mourinho admitted he fancied England's chances at the tournament.


“England have a good group of young but experienced players," said Mourinho, who will see several of his club's players such as Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford feature for England at the World Cup.

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“All of them play in the best domestic competition in the world in the ​Premier League. All of them playing in the best teams. All of them having experience of playing in the Champions League. So yes, I think they can do it."


Mourinho was also quick to dismiss suggestions that the likes of France, Germany and Brazil are more likely to be victorious in the tournament than England due to the strength of their players.


“They have good squads, but good squads do not always make good teams," said Mourinho. “Sometimes, not-so-special squads, in theory, can make better teams. For example, Portugal in the Euros (in 2016) had far from the best squad, but they did it."

However, the former ​Chelsea and ​Real Madrid boss admitted that the chances of a major upset were unlikely this summer and that the tournament's eventual winners were likely to be a well-established international side, saying: “I do not think we will have a surprise, like a country that has never won.”


England have won the World Cup only once, back in 1966. Since that historic victory, the Three Lions have failed to make it past the quarter-finals of the competition, crashing out in the group stage in their last outing in 2014.

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Southgate's men face Tunisia in their opening World Cup fixture on Monday and will also play Belgium and Panama in Group G.