By 90Min
June 07, 2018

With the 2018 World Cup within touching distance, we've reached that time in the footballing calendar when every player, manager, pundit and tea lady gets asked about their predictions for the tournament. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, but who better to ask than one of football's most decorated managers?

RT have done exactly that this week, quizzing Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho to see who the Portuguese gaffer expects to qualify from the group stages - and some of his answers might surprise you.

To begin with, Mourinho backed two-time world champions Uruguay to finish top of Group A ahead of hosts Russia. Not an altogether controversial prediction - but there were still some surprises to come.

The manager threw out his first left hook by selecting Australia to finish second in Group C ahead of Peru and Denmark, who rank 11th and 12th in the FIFA world rankings respectively. With Australia ranked 36th, this would be quite the upset if the Socceroos can pull it off.

Robert Cianflone/GettyImages

In Group D, one of the trickiest groups at this year's tournament, Mourinho backed Nigeria to finish second ahead of Croatia and Euro 2016 darlings Iceland. If it means neither of them get to face England again, most Three Lions fans would be happy to see that one come true.

Though Mourinho is a football expert whose opinion carries a lot of weight, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss admitted to being slightly dishonest with his predictions for the tournament - he backed Serbia to drop out of Group E because his players "need a holiday" and apologised to midfielder Nemanja Matic. 

14 years have passed since Mourinho first arrived in England, and all that time spent in the UK seems to have rubbed off on the manager as he predicted England to finish top of Group G ahead of star-studded Belgium. What will Marouane Fellaini have to say about that?

With one group left to predict, there was still time for Mourinho to make another shock prediction and the controversial manager duly delivered in style, backing Senegal to finish top of the group ahead of Colombia, Poland and Japan. With the African side appearing at their first finals since 2002, Sadio Mane and co will be hoping they can surprise a few people.

With a number of excellent teams and a few potential dark horses traveling to Russia next week, it is hard to predict the outcome for this year's World Cup. Mourinho seems convinced that a few upsets will take place this year and the United boss is probably right - after all, anything can happen in football.

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