Jose Mourinho says England have “a golden chance” to be in the World Cup final after they overcame Colombia in a penalty shootout in their last 16 match in Moscow.
England prevailed against Colombia 4-3 on penalties – the first time they have ever won a World Cup shootout – to book a place in the quarter-finals against Sweden in Samara on Saturday.
After the victory, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said England now have a very real chance of going all the way to the World Cup final in Moscow on July 15, especially considering the teams in their half of the draw.
“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 exclusively told RT.
The RT World Cup guest pundit had mixed feelings on the England performance that booked their spot in the quarter-finals.
“By the English point of view it depends on the way you look at it. If the most important point of view is the result, if the most important thing is to win, if the most important thing is to be in the quarter-finals, then great, job done, people are happy," he said.
“If you focus on the quality of the game, if you focus on the dominancy, then you are not so happy,” he said.
Mourinho also commented on what he felt were the positives and negatives of the game – as well as the actions of the players at the World Cup in Russia as a whole.
“The positive thing was that both teams, every player was amazingly committed… the English players, the Colombian players, they gave everything for 120 minutes… the players they should be exhausted, especially by the emotional point of view,” the Portuguese said.
“The negative thing for me was the fact, once more, it wasn’t for the first game, and I don’t think it will be the last game, I think there is exaggeration on theater by the players.
“I’m not just speaking about the English and Colombian players, I’m speaking about almost all of them,” he added.
Large parts of the England versus Colombia game were taken up by confrontations between the players during set pieces, with accusations of grappling and diving from both sides.
Mourinho said that while people were focusing on the antics of Brazilian star Neymar, who has widely been accusing of play-acting, the issue was endemic to the whole tournament.
“People are focusing on Neymar, but if it was only Neymar, I’d be happy, but it’s not only Neymar," he said.
“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.
“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 [England's] 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,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho will continue to provide RT with exclusive insight into the World Cup action as the competition heads into the quarter-finals and beyond.