Associated Press . Johannesburg
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar is already thinking of how to stop Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in the team’s next two World Cup matches.
Julio Cesar had very little work when Brazil beat North Korea 2-1 in the opener, but he knows things will be different when Brazil faces Ivory Coast and Portugal in its next Group G matches.
‘They are two players with completely different styles,’ Julio Cesar said Friday. ‘Without a doubt, I will have to pay special attention to both of them.’
Brazil will play Ivory Coast on Sunday in Johannesburg and Portugal five days later in Durban.
Julio Cesar said Ronaldo is the most skillful of the two attacking players and has a more complete game than Drogba.
‘He is technically superior, has more skills,’ the Inter Milan goalkeeper said. ‘He shoots well and heads well, too.’
He said Drogba is especially dangerous when in position to score, rarely failing to find the net.
‘He stays more inside the area and knows how to finish,’ Julio Cesar said.
It was unclear whether Drogba is going to start against Brazil on Sunday, but he came on as a 66th-minute substitute against Portugal after breaking his right arm in a warmup and is likely to play at least some of the game.
Julio Cesar feels Brazil has an edge against Drogba, who was not a factor when Chelsea lost to Inter Milan in the round of 16 of the Champions League last season.
The Inter defense that stopped Drogba included Julio Cesar, right back Maicon and center back Lucio—all starters for Brazil in South Africa.
‘Lucio completely dominated Drogba in the first match,’ said Julio Cesar, who added that Drogba and Ronaldo can be especially dangerous at free kicks. ‘Each of them strike the ball in a very particular way, we have to be careful.’
Julio Cesar downplayed the current goalkeeping mistakes at the World cup, saying ‘they are normal.’
He said he is not as concerned about making a mistake as he is with the cold temperatures so far in South Africa. It reached 1 degree Celsius (34 Fahrenheit) in Brazil’s match against North Korea at Ellis Park.
‘It was very cold,’ Julio Cesar said. ‘I’ve even asked them to buy me some extra clothing for the next match.
‘The ball barely got to me, so it was even harder. And the one ball that got to me went into the net, so I was not happy with that and the entire defense also wasn’t happy.’
Julio Cesar missed several practice sessions with Brazil before the World Cup after injuring his back in a warmup against Zimbabwe on June 2.
Brazil leads Group G after Portugal and Ivory Coast drew their opener 0-0. A victory against the African team at Soccer City will virtually secure the five-time champions a position in the next round.