The hosts were eliminated form the tournament when they lost to Croatia on penalties at the quarter-final stage on Sunday morning. Reaching the last eight is Russia's best result at the World Cup since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Mourinho said that Croatia had a greater potential and stronger players, but Russia had played at their full capacity, which helped them to "win hearts."

"Everyone said that Russia would be eliminated at the group stage. But they reached the knockout stage, they played Spain and Croatia exceptionally," he said.

"The Russian team will have to find a substitution to Sergei Ignashevich who has finished his career. But a younger generation - Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev - have already shown their value.

"Russia can look into its football future with hope," added the 55-year-old.

Ignashevich announced his retirement after Russia's defeat. The 38-year-old is his side's most capped player with record 127 international appearances.

"Russia left the tournament proudly, and (head coach) Stanislav Cherchesov managed to unite the team," said Mourinho.

It's right that Russia can feel optimistic about their national team - but the Portuguese trophy-hauler hasn't had the best of luck with his World Cup predictions...