Germany blast poor Portugal behind Mueller

Published Monday, June 16, 2014 2:21 PM by Shane Barrow
Germany blast poor Portugal behind Mueller

I don't think many saw this one coming.  Germany got their dream start as they grabbed an early lead kicking off the Group of Death against Portugal.  An 11th minute penalty from Tomas Mueller staked a precious lead after Mario Goetze was tugged down by Pereira.

Despite Germany taking the early lead, Portugal looked to have goals in them as they had produced a couple of good counter attacks in the opening ten minutes.  Nani almost got the match level in the 25th but his twenty yard drive slipped just over the crossbar.

As we approached the half hour mark the pace of the match had definitely slowed.  Portugal were forced to replace Hugo Almeida with Eder as it looked Almeida took a hamstring injury.   Could be the end of Almeida's World Cup after only thirty minutes.

The lead went to 2-0 as Germany took advantage of being the tallest team in the tournament.  Set pieces have always been their specialty.  Hummels rose high and headed home a corner kick.

Portugal nearly grabbed one back as Coentrao rolled a perfect ball to the back post.  Unfortunately no Portugal player made a go of it and all simply watched as the ball rolled harmlessly past the post.  Eder headed the succeeding corner just over the crossbar and Portugal were looking to get back into the match.

Unfortunately the optimism was short lived as soon after a moment of stupidity was to greatly alter Portugal's chances not only today but in the entire World Cup.  Pepe was shown the red card after Thomas Muller went to ground holding his face.  Pepe reacted poorly giving Muller a slight head butt as Muller sat on the turf.  A total disaster for Portugal.  Pepe will now be suspended for the match against the US as well.  Hard to see them rallying from this.

It looked to be a very long day for Portugal.  Just before the break Mueller made it 3-0 as Bruno Alves could not clear a cross and Mueller firing the loose ball home.  Game. Set. Match.

What we had hoped to be a very entertaining match was turning out to be a real disappointment as Portugal were wilting.

The real question was just how bad would the scoreline end up?  

Luckily Germany put it on cruise control at the beginning of the second half looking very content to knock the ball around and not waste energy or risk injury.  If Portugal were smart they would take off Cristiano Ronaldo and ready him for games 2 and 3 where he will need to be in full form.  This match is well over.

Things just got worse for Portugal just after the hour mark when Fabio Coentrao went down with what looked like a groin injury and needed to be subbed off.  The bad news was there was still over twenty minutes to play for something else to go wrong for Portugal.

The next knock landed with Germany though as Hummels went down with a knee injury.  Players dropping like flies.

It looked like Portugal were due a penalty kick in the 75th as Eder was dropped in the box.  Replays showed it probably should have been awarded.  Another sign that it just was never destined to be Portugal's day.

The 4th goal arrived soon after as Thomas Mueller completed his hat trick.  Schurrle got the cross in from the right that Portugal keeper Patricio got a hand to, but left a fat rebound sitting for Mueller to roll home.  Mueller becomes the fifth German player to notch a World Cup hat trick.

The last chance of the match fell to superstar Cristiano Ronaldo with a free kick.  He struck it well but Maneul Neuer was up to the task as he pushed it aside.  Germany 4 Portugal 0.  Ouch.

Portugal are in real, real trouble.  Pepe suspended, Coentrao with what looks like a major injury, Almeida injured.  Not to mention an opening game disaster and a totally wrecked goal differential.  Looks to be a fatal result that should see Portugal booking an early flight home from Brazil.