2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

Russia 2018

Mourinho: Messi and Ronaldo make their nations contenders

Argentina's Lionel Messi dribbles against Brazil
© Getty Images
  • ​Jose Mourinho anticipates a ‘really entertaining’ Russia 2018
  • The 55-year-old explains why Brazil and Spain are strong contenders
  • He reckons Messi and Ronaldo give their nations a chance

Jose Mourinho believes Brazil and Spain are the teams to beat at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, but feels the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and that alone – gives Argentina and Portugal a chance.

"I really like Brazil’s basic structure – their tactics, mentality,” the Manchester United manager told ESPN Brasil. “There’s a mixture of natural Brazilian talent with a serious, physical, tactical approach.

“It’s a team capable of defending well, of conceding few goals, with a good support base. And they have an attack with Willian, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus… all players with exceptional qualities.

“I think that without Lionel Messi, the Argentinian national team wouldn’t be in contention. But with him, they are one of the favourites.

“Portugal have an interesting team. Without Cristiano, it would be impossible. But with him, nothing’s impossible.

“There are the traditional European teams, but I believe Spain are a real team again. They have players, who follow their same philosophy and are adapted to their style of play. I think Spain are in a better position than all of the other European teams."

Mourinho is excited for the 21st World Cup, and will be in Russia to watch some of it.

“It will be really entertaining,” he said. “I'll be in Russia for a week to follow the games, and then finally vacation."

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