By DAN KARELL
The opening match of the World Cup Group of Death could not have gone any better for Germany, or any worse for Portugal.
Behind a Thomas Müller hat-trick, Germany thrashed Portugal, 4-0, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Portugal played more than half the match down to 10 men after centerback Pepe was red carded for a head butt in the 37th minute on Müller. Portugal also lost Huge Almeida and Fabio Coentrao to injuries during the match.
The four-goal defeat was also the largest deficit in Portugal’s World Cup history.
For Müller, he takes his total World Cup goal tally to an incredible eight goals at just 24-years old and is credited with the 2014 World Cup’s first hat-trick.
Both teams had a nervous start of the match, as the usually sound Philipp Lahm turned the ball over in midfield a few times, while Portugal was unable to connect with Ronaldo early, foreshadowing their struggles throughout the match.
The match turned on its head when Mario Götze was played into the box and was pulled down by Portugal right back Joao Pereira in the 11th minute, setting up a penalty kick called by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic. Müller stepped up to the spot and sent a perfect penalty kick into the lower left corner.
Germany added their second goal of the match off a corner kick when they took advantage of their size advantage over Portugal in the 32nd minute. Toni Kroos sent in a beautiful corner kick and Mats Hummels powered a header home with ease.
The game took another turn in Germany’s favor when Müller went down under a soft challenge from Pepe. The Portuguese centerback took offense to Müller’s actions and head butted the German midfielder while he was sitting on the ground, enraging Müller and enticing a decision from the referee.
Mazic didn’t hesitate in the 37th minute as he reached directly to the back pocked and gave Pepe his marching orders. Adding to Portugal’s woes, Raul Meireles, who dropped back into defense to fill in for Pepe, mis-cleared a cross into the middle in first half stoppage time, allowing Müller to send a low strike home, though Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio got a foot to it.
After already losing Hugo Almeida early in the first half to injury, Portugal made their second substitution to bring on Ricardo Costa at halftime, and then were forced to use their third when Fabio Coentrao went off injured midway through the second half.
The frustrating day for Cristiano Ronaldo only continued as his teammates failed to find him on the break and in positions facing the goal, and the Germans did well to keep his free kicks out of danger. Portugal had a shout for a penalty kick off a Ronaldo strike when Eder was taken down in the box, but Mazic waved away the Portuguese protests.
A mistake from substitute Andre Almeida allowed Andre Schurrle space on the right side of the box in the 78th minute, crossing into the middle to find Müller for his hat-trick goal.
Why would Pepe headbutt Thomas Mulle http://hhub.co/1nKSsN1
I am a little sad that Pepe is not going to play against the US (not really) because I have been waiting for the moment when Jermaine Jones totally punks Pepe. You know Jones was going to totally exploit that headcase.
“Portugal also lost Huge Almeida….”
That loss is certainly huge.
Soooo, if the US beat Ghana and tie Portugal, they’re in, right?
Assuming, Ghana doesn’t beat Portugal and Germany. And assuming the U.S. can limit goal differential against Germany.
Am I right?
Assuming you are right, then you are right.
That’s an awful lot of assumptions!
I assume he realizes that.
Did Portugal fail to find CR on the left, or did they intentionally try to play down the right?
Short version: They sucked.
Long version: They could have sucked a golf ball down a garden hose.
Did you notice how angry CR got when they didn’t pass to him and how nervous his teammates looked when they had an open shot, knowing they’d get in trouble if they didn’t pass to CR instead?
That’s every game, though…
both, i think.
germany played a lopsided defense with ronaldo on the wing, opening up more space on the opposite flank. portugal naturally tried to take advantage of that space.
Head to head transfer of hair curl grease is deplorable and a red card every time. Thanks for greasing the wheels of Portugal’s demise Pepe “le pew.”
Portugal is very beatable
Bring back JOB ’02!!!
Bring back LD ’02!
Bring back Disco!
everybody’s doing the disco duck
Disco Stu says “Awwwll right.”
what’s more world class?
scoring at a World Cup or European Cup or Copa America
scoring in a league or CL match?
Zlatan/Lewandwoski are world class when it comes to club games but the likes of Podolski and Klose are world class when it comes to matches for their NT
Score an epic goal in the World Cup and you become immortal (see Maradona et al.).
Put it this way: My dad knows NOTHING about soccer, but now he knows Robin van Persie after his flying header. It’s a question of scale. The WC has a much broader appeal than any continental tournament.
be a National Hero or a Club Hero>
Win the World Cup or win the CL and be nominated for the Ballon d’Or? hard to say
There is a CL and Ballon d’Or winner every year. World Cups are awarded once every 4 years. There are 22 different CL winners since the inaugural year of 1956. The Ballon d’Or is even less exclusive. There are only 8 different WC winners since the inaugural year of 1930. If value/prestige/merit is based on exclusivity, there’s no contest, the WC is far more esteemed. But the WC is quite nearly the opposite of individual accomplishment, as it is a much better measure of team accomplishment, whereas the Ballon d’Or is an individual achievement. I think CL versus WC is a better comparison, and as such I would say the WC is by far and away the more prestigious and lauded award.
Nationalism in a global tournament > club loyalty in a continental tournament.
Certainly make more $$ being a club hero
I’ll say it again, he’s gonna look good in that Galaxy jersey, him and Robbie Keane up front! Gals gonna be unbeatable!!! He has to lose those socks though…
awesome game for us usa fans.
bad day for us real madrid fans
Didn’t Contrau also have to be subbed off after reaching for a ball that was going out? The Portuguese just came unglued all over the field. The US can frustrate this team and Ronaldo is apt to lose his head. He should have been booked for hounding the ref after a penalty shout.
I think this game was deceiving to US fans. Yes, the Portuguese came out and imploded, but they did so against a strong German squad. Our defenders have never faced someone like Ronaldo and Portugal will not be afraid of us like they showed against Germany. Plus, now they really have to come out fighting which doesn’t bode well for us.
While it’s nice that the scumbag Pepe was red carded and a few players were injured, but as long as Ronaldo is out there, our defense is going to be scrambling to contain him.
It’s like a dog who is now fighting for its life with nothing to lose. That dog is going to do some crazy things to stay alive and they are now unpredictable. I’d rather play a cautious Portugal than one all in for the needed BIG win.
By the same token, one can argue that Portugal will be desperate for goals, and perhaps a little too attack-minded. Good old US defend-and-counter — augmented by JK’s “pro-active” approach — might win the day.
If I had to face a desperate Portugal or a desperate Germany, I’d choose Portugal every time. There’s no doubt that Ronaldo can tear us up, but I think we have a better shot at containing him if he starts rushing and forcing things. But first things first – let’s get the three points we need tonight!
Superb result for the US. Pepe is out for the Minaus match. -3 and 0 points, Portugal MUST win, they have to play for a win and scores. That will give us space in the back. And Germany with a win and 3 goals….if they win against Ghana, may go in to the 3rd match seeking to rest players like Muller and Khadira….and avoid injury. Now, the US just needs to take care of business against Ghana.
Germany won by 4. Awful game for Portugal, watched intently with my portuguese-American in laws. Nani was terrible, and Portugal does not have the same potency when they don’t counter attack. They don’t do tiki taka well like they do fast breaks. That is how they killed Sweden in the playoffs. We absolutely can’t let them have the counter attack breaks.
Sad, I wanted both USA and Portugal to go through. Whoever wins, Ghana or USA, Portugal is have a hard time with that goal differential.