Soccer

Ronaldo caught up on beauty sleep during WCup draw

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MADRID (AP)

While the eyes of the football world were focused on Brazil for the World Cup draw, Cristiano Ronaldo caught up on his beauty sleep.

Ronaldo didn't watch Friday's draw, when his native Portugal was placed alongside Germany, Ghana, and the United States in Group G, because he was ''sleeping,'' he told a news conference on Sunday.

When he did awake to see his country's positioning, he felt confident about their chances.

''It's a very difficult group. Germany is always a candidate to win it, Ghana and the United States are great teams, so it's difficult,'' Ronaldo said.

''But from my point of view, we can get through. It depends on how confident the team is. The team's training camp will be very important.''

Six Real Madrid internationals who will be at next year's tournament shared their views of the draw on Sunday, including Spain captain Iker Casillas.

Casillas said the defending champion faces a tough task with the Netherlands, Chile, and Australia in Group B.

Spain opened the 2010 World Cup with a loss to Switzerland, but went undefeated the rest of the way to win the trophy for the first time in the country's history.

There will likely be no coming back from a slow start on June 13 in Salvador against the Dutch this time.

''I can understand why a player can see Spain as favorite after what we have achieved over the last years,'' said Casillas, also referencing Spain's back-to-back European Championship triumphs. ''Everyone is going to be motivated to play us so we've got to do the best possible from the start.''

Brazil fullback Marcelo doesn't see Spain as a direct rival, although the pair could meet in the second round.

Marcelo said Brazil is not overestimating its chances despite being drawn against Croatia, Mexico, and Cameroon in Group A. Brazil opens against Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo.

Croatia midfielder Luca Modric said the pressure will be solely on the hosts, who are overwhelming favorites in the group.

''(People) they have the right to say what they want but I would never underestimate Croatia because we always play well in major competitions,'' Modric said. ''It's a special for us, it's the opening game of the World Cup. Hopefully we can give them a tough time. We want to show (people) are wrong (to dismiss us).''

Other players present on Sunday were France striker Karim Benzema and Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria.

But all of the players responded similarly when asked about their teams' chances of winning the World Cup, saying each country was taking it game-by-game and just looking to get out of the group.

Casillas also disagreed with FIFA's methodology for determining coefficients for the draw.

''It's true that I don't agree with how the draw was executed,'' Casillas said. ''You don't really understand how the coefficients are decided, but we're not in a place to decide which national team is better than others. The only thing we can do is go and play the games and try to win.''

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Follow Paul Logothetis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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