Striker Thomas Müller scored a hat-trick as Germany opened their
World Cup campaign on Monday with a 4-0 rout of 10-man Portugal with
Cristiano Ronaldo enduring an afternoon to forget.
A decisive first-half saw Germany race into 3-0 lead as Müller
converted a penalty, then fired home their third on the stroke of
half-time after a Mats Hummels header had also hit the target. Portugal
played almost an hour with a man down after defender Pepe was red-carded
for aiming a head-butt at Müller.
Germany continue their domination of Portugal by adding Brazil 2014
to their list of recent wins over Ronaldo's side which includes the 2006
World Cup, plus the 2008 and 2012 European championships. Having
declared himself '100 percent fit', Ronaldo lived up to his word with an
early shot, then put Hugo Almeida into space, but the Germans were soon
Sami Khedira fired wide after a loose pass from Rui Patricio with
eight minutes gone at the start of a busy period for the Portugal
goalkeeper. When left-back Joao Pereira tugged back on Mario Götze's
shirt, Serbian referee Milorad Mazic pointed straight to the spot.
Müller, who scored five goals in the 2010 finals to claim both the
Golden Boot and best young player award, planted his penalty in the
bottom corner to open the German's account on 12 minutes. Götze then
crashed a shot just wide of the post, just before the Germans went 2-0
Toni Kroos swung in a corner and centre-back Hummels out-jumped Pepe
to plant his header past Patricio on 32 minutes. Portugal's fortunes
went from bad to worse on 37 minutes when the standing Pepe aimed a
head-butt at the seated Müller after an altercation to earn a straight
Müller had his revenge on the stroke of half-time when he chested
down Kroos' long pass and smashed his shot past Patricio as it finished
3-0 at the interval. After the break, Portugal kept chipping away at the
solid German defence, which had been a concern coming into Brazil.
But Portugal's fortunes were summed up when one of Ronaldo's
trademark free-kicks cannoned off the German wall leaving the world's
best player with his head in his hands. Having already lost injured
midfielders Marco Reus and Lars Bender before arriving in Brazil, there
were worrying scenes for Germany coach Joachim Löw when Hummels had to
be helped off on 73 minutes. Sampdoria's 22-year-old Shkodran Mustafi
came on to win only his second cap.
Müller wrapped up his hat-trick on 78 minutes in scrappy fashion in a goal-mouth scramble after Patricio had parried a shot.