x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Colombia v England: Cahill and Loftus-Cheek wary of former Chelsea teammates Falcao and Cuadrado

Colombian pair struggled to make impacts in the Premier League but are key players for their national team

Radamel Falcao, left, Juan Cuadrado, centre, are key to Colombia's World Cup team. Marcos Brindicci / Reuters
Radamel Falcao, left, Juan Cuadrado, centre, are key to Colombia's World Cup team. Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

Chelsea and England teammates Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have said former club colleagues Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado could pose plenty of danger for Colombia in the World Cup last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Colombia, as winners of Group H, take on Group G runners-up England at the Spartak Stadium on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

And while the match in Moscow will centre largely on the fitness of James Rodriguez, who came off injured in Colombia's win over Senegal, Falcao and Cuadrado are just as important to their cause, according to Cahill and Loftus-Cheek.

______________________

More from 2018 World Cup:

Last-16 guide and predictions: France end Argentina and Lionel Messi's hopes

Missed chances and slow starts: Assessing the Arab sides at World Cup 2018

Lionel Messi and Argentina train ahead of France showdown - in pictures

______________________

Cahill knows Falcao from their time together at Chelsea, where the striker spent an ill-fated season on loan in 2015/16, and warned England cannot afford to see him as the forward who managed just five goals in two Premier League seasons.

"Falcao had a difficult time in England clearly, but outside of England he's a very high-profile player," said Cahill of a player who has scored 51 goals for Monaco in the past two campaigns.

"He's scored many, many goals. He did have a difficult time in England, showed his character when he went to find his form again and now he's a huge player for them.

"I'm sure a huge amount was probably confidence. He had that spell at Manchester United, then he had that spell at us, he was short of sharpness at both of them.

"I suppose in his eyes, the rest is history, he's refound his form now. He's tricky in the box, he likes to come off the shoulder a little bit, and he's a good finisher.

"When he gets half a chance, we saw that in training he's a decent finisher. Everyone knows him, everyone's aware of him, his ability."

Loftus-Cheek, a Chelsea Academy graduate who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, also worked with Falcao and Cuadrado at the Stamford Bridge club and gave a ringing endorsement of their skill.

"When I was at Chelsea training with them obviously Cuadrado didn't get much game time but he still looked sharp," he said.

"He is so sharp and he can just do things off the cuff, he gets past defenders. As for Falcao we all know what a player he is. Falcao is always a goal threat and he has been for his entire career.

"It will be a difficult game, just like any other at the World Cup. So we will need to analyse Colombia and work out how we want to play against them."