He may have jeopardised Ashley Cole's chances of becoming only the second England player to appear at four World Cup Finals but Jose Mourinho believes Roy Hodgson's side must still not be underestimated in Brazil this summer.
The Chelsea manager's preference for Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back means Cole faces a nervous wait to see if he can join Sir Bobby Charlton in the exclusive four-tournament club. Yet despite England being rated as doubtful to even qualify from Group D, Mourinho insists the experience in Hodgson's squad could stand them in good stead.
"England, everybody says no, no, no, no, no – I always say why not because I don't understand why not," he said. "When I see the players and the experience of the players and the clubs where they play, I don't understand why one day it cannot happen."
Asked if England sides at past World Cups have underachieved, Mourinho added: "I think so because this is the best championship in the world. I know that many foreign players are in the top clubs but at the same time the national team players, all of them, they play in the top clubs in the Premier League – players from Chelsea, from Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal, a few from Everton. All of them they know how to play in the pressure so I don't see why they don't."
England's chances of reaching at least the last 16 will rely on them hitting the ground running in a group that also contains former winners Italy and Uruguay. However, Mourinho expects a close battle to qualify.
He said: "I don't think Uruguay and Italy find it easy to play against England. I think it is the kind of group where everybody is waiting for the first match and the first defeat will put immediately one team in a very difficult situation."
Yahoo has unveiled Jose Mourinho as its global football ambassador for 2014. He will be an exclusive analyst for Yahoo's coverage of the Fifa World Cup 2014. Go to: mourinhoforyahoo.tumblr.com
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