World Cup: England are wary of Colombia’s Premier League ‘flops’

Colombia's Radamel Falcao, centre, jumps for the ball with Senegal's Kalidou Koulibaly, right, and Youssouf Sabaly during their group H match in Samara (Picture: Martin Meissner/AP).
Colombia's Radamel Falcao, centre, jumps for the ball with Senegal's Kalidou Koulibaly, right, and Youssouf Sabaly during their group H match in Samara (Picture: Martin Meissner/AP).
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England insist they are on full World Cup alert for Colombian duo Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado having already been burned by one Premier League outcast with a point to prove.

Former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj was the match-winner as Belgium beat manager Gareth Southgate’s side 1-0 on Thursday and said his desire to prove English critics wrong helped fuel his performance.

His strike meant England finished second in Group G and will now meet the table-topping South Americans in the last 16.

While Tuesday’s match in Moscow will centre largely on the fitness of James Rodriguez, who went off injured in Colombia’s win over Senegal, Falcao and Cuadrado are just as important to their cause.

English fans never got to see the best of the duo, who have enjoyed hugely impressive careers in continental Europe.

Falcao looked a shadow of his best during loan stints at Manchester United and Chelsea, while Cuadrado was one of many talented players who got lost in the shuffle after a big-money move to Stamford Bridge.

Gary Cahill knows Falcao from their time together in London and warned England cannot afford to see him as the lethargic figure 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 struck 51 times 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. He’s tricky in the box, he likes to come off the shoulder a little bit, and he’s a good finisher. Everyone knows him, everyone’s aware of him, his ability.”