Pekerman discusses Falcao return, Chile clash

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has discussed Radamel Falcao's form and praised forthcoming opponents Chile. The 30-year-old Monaco striker has returned to the Cafeteros squad for the first time in over a year for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifiers at home to La Roja and away to Argentina.

“Falcao has always been a key player in the national team,” said Pekerman. “Unfortunately his injury kept him out of the last World Cup. Now we’re in another stage and, after a timeout, he is finding his best form.

“You have to start from bottom to top. Hopefully he can find his best form and realise his highest expectations.”

Colombia entertain Chile in Barranquilla on Thursday, and Pekerman is expecting an entertaining game.

“Chile are one of the best national teams in the world,” said the former Argentina coach. “They have won two Copa Americas, which showed their high level. Now, in the World Cup preliminaries, they’ll always be a candidate to qualify.

“They’re an efficient and experienced team. They’ve had, like all national teams, some ups and downs, but I think it will be a great match because Chile always put on a show.”

Colombia are fourth in South American qualifying, behind Ecuador on goal difference, Uruguay by three points and leaders Brazil by four. Chile and Argentina are a point behind in fifth and sixth.

Colombia have won just one of their last seven meetings with Chile, with a James Rodriguez free-kick and a Falcao goal securing a 3-1 comeback victory in Santiago in Brazil 2014 qualifying.