Portugal fell apart, and a cool Germany took full advantage.
Thomas Muller notched a hat trick as Germany ran over 10-man Portugal 4-0 in its opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Monday.
The Germans went up 2-0 before Pepe lost all control of his emotions in the 37th minute. The Portuguese defender headbutted Muller after the Germany striker went down under his challenge.
Pepe was sent off, Muller scored shortly after, and it was pretty much over at halftime.
Things began to unravel for Portugal when Germany scored its first goal. Portuguese defender João Pereira pulled German striker Mario Götze down in the box, conceding a penalty. Angry Portugal players immediately swarmed Serbian referee Milorad Mazic to no avail.
Muller scored from the spot to give Germany a 1-0 lead, and a frustrated Portugal would soon get into worse trouble when Pepe was sent off.
Man of the match
Thomas Muller. The German midfielder looks keen to become the first player in history to defend his Golden Boot at the World Cup.
It was a good day for…
Efficiency. Germany was predictably clinical, cool, composed, and deadly in dispatching its most difficult opponent of the group. This is a bad thing for anyone else who wants to win the World Cup.
It was a bad day for…
Pepe. Cristiano Ronaldo. Fábio Coentrao. Rest of Portugal. Pepe got a red card. Ronaldo was ineffective, probably still hurt. Coentrao pulled a groin muscle and might be out of the tournament. And Portugal’s World Cup hopes are in shambles.
49. Number of hat tricks in the history of the World Cup, after Muller’s performance.
What does this mean?
Germany looks scary as usual, but Portugal didn’t give Die Mannschaft too much of a test. Now the Germans may not see a true challenge until the knockout round. Ghana is Germany’s next potential victim on Saturday (CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 3 p.m. ET).
The only way it could’ve been worse for Portugal is if Ronaldo ran his face into the goalpost and was permanently disfigured. The team only has until Sunday to get its act together before a tough match against the United States (CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup, 6 p.m. ET).
They said it
"After 20 minutes, we looked up at the clock and thought it was going to be a long day. But we got into the match very well and when you lead by 2-0 in this heat and then even get the third, it was all over." – Thomas Muller
"We lost the game already in the first half. We couldn't come back in the second. Germany played very well, we couldn't do anything." – Portugal coach Paulo Bento