Cuadrado: World-class Cote d'Ivoire are a force to be reckoned with

The winger believes the Elephants deserve respect, saying they are a great side with world-class players, while he has also highlighted the importance of James Rodriguez

Colombia’s Juan Guillermo Cuadrado has lavished praise on Group C rivals Cote d'Ivoire ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

Despite being full of confidence after their 3-0 win over Greece in their opening World Cup game, the winger, who plays his club football for Fiorentina, believes the Elephants will be tough opponents.

The 26-year-old considers the African team a great side and is wary of their experience and players who, according to Cuadrado, deserve a lot of respect.

"In my view they are one of the forces to be reckoned with at this World Cup," Cuadrado told Fifa’s official website.

"They have a wealth of experience and world-class players such as [Didier] Drogba, Yaya Toure and Gervinho, to name but a few. They are star names and key players for their clubs and give the team that extra edge.

“We know we have to show them a lot of respect, because they're a great side."

In the 3-0 win over Greece, midfielder James Rodriguez was a stand-out player and Cuadrado was full of praise for the 22-year-old following a spirited performance in which he scored a late goal to round off the victory.

"When Rodriguez is on the pitch, it makes everything easier,” he continued. “He's a great playmaker. Every time he gets on the ball, the rest of us try to offer him different options.

“We can make runs off the ball and he picks us out with wonderful passes."