Thomas Muller (center) notched a hat trick to lead Germany past Portugal. (Getty Images)

2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany dominates Portugal, 4-0

By Jeff Borzello | CBSSports.com
  
Thomas Muller (center) notched a hat trick to lead Germany past Portugal. (Getty Images)
Thomas Muller (center) notched a hat trick to lead Germany past Portugal. (Getty Images)

FINAL SCORE: Germany 4, Portugal 0

This was one of the most anticipated battles of the opening round of matches. Germany, one of the favorites to win the World Cup, taking on Portugal, led by perhaps the best player in the world in Ronaldo. “The Superpower versus the Superstar,” as ESPN said before the match.

Well, that went out the window very quickly.

Portugal actually looked like the better side for the first 10 minutes or so, getting some chances on the counter with Ronaldo and Nani speeding up the flanks, and the midfielders looking to dispossess Phillipp Lahm and Semi Khedira in the center of the mark. But then Joao Pereira yanked down Mario Gotze inside the box, leading to a penalty call from the referee. Thomas Muller buried it from the spot.

Germany would follow that up with a headed goal from center back Mats Hummels off a corner kick, giving them a 2-0 lead and taking the wind out of Portugal’s sails. It also continued to frustrate Pepe, which boiled over when he was involved in a tussle with Muller later in the half. Muller went down softly after Pepe hit him, and Pepe went over to admonish him, but headbutted him in the process. Pepe was given a straight red card and sent off. Down a man, Portugal was helpless to stop Germany. Muller added on another goal to make it 3-0 heading into halftime.

The second half was more of the same, with Germany controlling possession and looking likely to grab at least one more goal before time ran out. That came in the 78th minute, when Andre Schurrle crossed it from the end-line, and Muller was able to clean up Rui Patricio’s deflection to cap his hat-trick.

Germany looked like the World Cup favorite many projected, while Portugal is now in a major hole heading into Sunday’s match against the United States. The goal differential is -4, Ronaldo was neutralized and frustrated, Pepe is suspended, while Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida are injured.

FINAL: Germany gets an early goal from the penalty spot, and then it unravels for Portugal. Pepe was sent off, Thomas Muller scored a hat-trick, and Ronaldo was mostly a non-factor after the opening minutes.

90′ + 2: Ronaldo had another free kick opportunity from about 30 yards out, but Manuel Neuer was able to parry it away. (GIF via @FlyByKnite)

90′: Two minutes of extra time added.

82′: Germany sub.

  • IN: Lukas Podolski
  • OUT: Thomas Muller

Muller now has eight World Cup goals, and he’s only 24. He likely has two World Cups left in his career — the record is 15, held by Brazil’s Ronaldo.

GOAL VINE: (via @TopDrawerSoccer)

Thomas Muller (center) notched a hat trick to lead Germany past Portugal. (Getty Images)

78′: GOAL! And a hat-trick for Thomas Muller! He knocks in a rebound from inside the six-yard box after Andre Schurrle’s cross was knocked away by Rui Patricio.

75′: Wild sequence of events. Nani had a go from about 25 yards out, it was parried by Neuer, but Eder won the race to the rebound — before being taken out. No call. Ronaldo got into the referree’s face, before being pushed away. No card. Eder should have earned a penalty, while Ronaldo could have been given a yellow card.

(GIF via @FlyByKnite)

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