GERMANY 4-0 PORTUGAL
MONDAY 16TH JUNE – SALVADOR
Thomas Müller scored a treble as Germany cruised to a 4-0 victory over Portugal on Monday evening, while Pepe was sent off for headbutting the hat-trick hero in a turbulent first-half.
Billed as the match of the tournament so far, it didn’t fail to disappoint, with Almeida and Ronaldo both testing Neuer within the first ten minutes as the Portuguese started brightly.
All their hard work was undone though on 11 minutes, Götze turned well between two men in the area, and was scythed down by Pereira, who was perhaps lucky to escape with a yellow. There was nothing lucky about the penalty though, as Thomas Müller stepped up, and calmly put Loew’s side ahead against the run of play.
The Germans were playing with a back-line consisting of four centre-backs, and it was clear they had to attack the wings, with Nani looking sprightly, and it was him who came close shortly before the half hour mark, smashing a shot inches over the bar with Neuer beaten.
It went from bad to worse for Paulo Bento’s side though, first, Almeida was forced to withdraw through injury, before Mats Hummels rose highest from a Kroos corner to thump home a header just minutes later.
Time for Portugal to remain calm and regroup, but the unpredictable Pepe struck again, first catching Muller with an arm to the face, before going head to head with the midfielder as he lay on the floor – leaving the Serbian referee with no choice but to show him the red.
Facing the Germans with 10 men is not ideal at any time, but when Müller snuck infront of Bruno Alves in injury time, the game was put to bed as he slotted home with ease past Rui Patricio.
Costa replaced Veloso in the second half, as Bento returned to four defenders in hope of stopping the tirade coming from the German attack. The plan seemed to have worked, bar a Muller header, the Germans were thwarted every time they attacked, and the Portuguese even looked to be coming back into the game.
All eyes were on Ronaldo, but he was largely tame, smashing a free-kick into the wall on the hour mark, before his Real Madrid teammate Coentrao heaped more misery on their national side as he was stretchered off.
The 10 men were tiring and Götze perhaps should’ve made it four when he dawdled on the ball on the edge of the box. However, they didn’t have to wait long, with the 2010 Golden Boot winner striking again. Schürrle – who looked deadly when coming on – squared the ball for Müller, who really couldn’t miss, collecting the three points for his team, and the match ball for himself.
There was still time for Ronaldo to crash a free kick into the ball, before finally beating it with another, only for Neuer to claw the ball away. It was certainly not a day to remember for the 29 year old.
It was one to remember for the Germans though, Loew’s side catapulted themselves top of the group, somewhere they will look to stay when they face Ghana on Saturday night. Portugal will have another day to recover for their clash with USA, but will have to face that prospect without defenders Pepe and Coentrao as they face a battle to exit Group G.
GERMANY: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels (Mustafi 72), Mertesacker, Höwedes, Lahm, Khedira, Özil (Schürrle 63), Kroos, Götze, Müller (Podolski 82).
GOALS: Müller 12P, 45, 78, Hummels 32.
PORTUGAL: Patricio, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Coentrao (A. Almeida 65), Pereira, Veloso (Ricardo Costa 46), Moutinho, Meireles, Nani, Ronaldo, H. Almeida (Eder 28).
BOOKINGS: Pereira 11.
SENT OFF: Pepe 37.
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