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The goal fest continued in Brazil as two heavyweights came together to kick off the tournament for Group G. Germany took on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side and won in thorough fashion, defeating the Portuguese 4-0 in Salvador.
Portugal started the match off well, connecting on a few occasions but it was Germany who created the most threatening chances early. As the two teams felt each other out, Portugal’s back line struggled to contain the young, lightning-fast German offense and their efforts paid off soon after, Germany winning a penalty in the first half.
Thomas Muller stepped up, buried the ball past Rui Patricio and gave Germany a 1-0 lead to build on, and build they did; defender Mats Hummels added a second goal off a corner kick, when he rose above the rest of the crowd and headed home the goal. Before the first half came to a close, Muller added a third with a shot that deflected off Rui Patricio and flew into the back of the net.
But it was the drama of an off-the-ball incident that headlined the match, as Pepe and Muller turned confrontational. The Serbian referee quickly diffused the situation and showed Pepe a red card, sending him to the locker room.
Up 3-0 at the start of the second half, Germany began pushing for a fourth while Portugal would have been happy with just the one consolation goal. However, the nightmare start became ever worse for the Portuguese when left fullback Fabio Coentrao went down with a pulled hamstring. Hummels, too, picked up an injury, leaving both teams without their most important defenders.
The frustration could be seen on Cristiano Ronaldo’s face as each Portuguese attack dwindled away to nothing, while German hearts soared once more when Muller tucked in a deflected save off a Andre Schurrle shot and gave Germany a 4-0 lead. Muller’s third goal of the game is the first hat trick of the World Cup and puts him in the running for the Golden Boot once more, a title he earned in the 2010 World Cup, too.
Ronaldo nearly found the back of the net from a long free kick in 90+ minute added time, but could only force a save from Manuel Neuer.
Germany walk away 4-0 winners on the day and with all three points secured, they’ll be content going into the next match against Ghana. Meanwhile, Portugal, down two of their four defenders, will need to get a result against the U.S.A. next week, after a thorough trumping against Germany.
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