Mourinho names his Euro 2024 ‘biggest surprise’ & reveals Portugal concern

Jose Mourinho has revealed that Spain has been the biggest surprise for him in Euro 2024, and he admits he had reservations about Portugal before the tournament began.

Spain secured the top spot in Group B, ahead of Italy, Croatia, and Albania.

They then defeated Germany in extra time during their quarter-final match last Friday, advancing to a semi-final clash with France this Tuesday.

Portugal, on the other hand, finished first in Group F and narrowly beat Slovenia on penalties in the round of 16. However, they were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals after another penalty shootout.

Despite initially naming Portugal as one of the favorites to win Euro 2024, Mourinho acknowledges that their 2-1 loss to Croatia prior to the tournament had raised concerns for him.

‘I watched [Turkey] with reason and from a professional perspective. Every time Turkey won it was a problem for me, and every time Portugal won it was a joy,’ Mourinho told Sport TV on Monday.

Speaking on Portugal’s exit, Mourinho said: ‘There is always frustration when you feel that you could do better. The team’s potential was extremely high.

‘I wasn’t far off the mark when I said that Portugal, France and England were the favourites. Two of them are in the semi-finals.

‘Spain is the biggest surprise for me, in the way the team has evolved, they are practically a new team. For me, at the moment, they are the team that plays the best and the one that has played the best throughout the tournament.

‘Portugal wasn’t fantastic, despite reaching the quarter-finals. We expected more. I was at the National Stadium for the Portugal-Croatia match and it didn’t smell good. I didn’t get a great feeling.

‘During the tournament we were the team that was making progress, but we weren’t convincing.

‘Often, when the moment of truth comes, these teams are stronger. This wasn’t the end of Portugal, there wasn’t any improvement in the team.

‘But it’s a young team, apart from the two veterans [Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe], a team with years ahead of them. The World Cup is just around the corner.’

JB

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