Germany thump Portugal 4-0 in Group G opener
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Thomas Mueller scored a hat trick as Germany turned on its style and power to rout 10-man Portugal 4-0 in their World Cup Group G opener on Monday in Salvador.
Billed as a clash of European heavyweights, the game ended in embarrassment for Portugal and underscored Germany’s credentials as serious title contenders.
The match was the biggest ever defeat for Portugal at a major tournament and might also have cost them three key players for future games.
Pepe, the Real Madrid defender, will definitely miss the two remaining group games after he got a red card in the 37th minute for butting Mueller. Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida also went off with injuries.
After a bright start, Portugal conceded a penalty in the 11th minute.
Portugal’s Joao Pereira was perhaps lucky to escape with only a yellow card as he brought down Germany’s Mario Goetze who was preparing to shoot.
Muller, who won the Golden Boot at the last World Cup in South Africa, buried the ensuing penalty kick.
After 32 minutes, Mats Hummels out-jumped the Portuguese defence to head in a corner and put Germany decisively ahead by two goals.
Meuller hat trick
Just before half time, Mueller wriggled free in the penalty area to score his second, to the delight of the German contingent and Chancellor Angela Merkel watching in the crowd.
Germany played much of the second half at a stroll, but Mueller was still able to complete his hat trick from close range when Rui Patricio, the Portuguese goalie, dropped the ball.
The result clearly puts Germany in a strong position Group G, which also contains Ghana and the United States.
The only positive for Portugal was that Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been struggling with injury, played the full 90 minutes and was still going strong at the end. However, a day that began with wild screams meeting the mere mention of his name, ended with jeers as his infrequent touches came to little and all but one of his trademark free kicks disappointed.
"We have to analyse this in all calm," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said after the match. "We tried in the second half but didn't succeed. We lost the match in the first half and couldn't change that in the second half.”
The victory extended Germany's run of having won every opening World Cup match since 1990 and they have scored at least four goals in five of those seven games.
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