Salvador seems to be the place for surprising results at this World Cup, fresh from the 5-1 thumping by the Netherlands over Spain on Friday, the fans of the Arena Fonte Nova were treated to a 4-0 trouncing of Portugal at the hands of Germany.
Thomas Muller grabbed a hat trick as he moves within eight of Ronaldo’s FIFA World Cup goalscoring record despite being just 24 years of age. Borussia Dortmund defender added another for Germany in a first half which also saw Pepe deservedly given his marching orders for a headbutt on the hat trick hero Muller.
Eight minutes in and the man who got the nod over Beto and Eduardo as first choice stopper for Portugal, Rui Patricio, had Paulo Bento pulling his hair out. Not under much pressure from Thomas Muller, the keeper scuffed a clearance straight to Sami Khedira and the midfielder was just inches from opening the scoring.
Little over three minutes later, Portugal did not get so lucky. Mario Gotze broke into the penalty area after he got away from Joao Pereira, who then, in desperation pulled down the Bayern Munich man and left the referee little option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Muller who made no mistake with the spot kick, calmly slotting it beyond the earlier fortunate Patricio to give his side the lead.
Just after the half hour, Germany doubled their lead. Toni Kroos took the corner and Borussia Dortmund defender took advantage of some poorly organised zonal marking to tower over both Bruno Alves and Pepe to double Die Adler’s advantage.
Seven minutes before the break, Portugal made themselves their own worst nightmare once again. An innocuous flailing arm from Pepe sent Muller to the ground. Following Pepe’s eventual clearance, it seemed he wasn’t finished with Muller, returning to the stricken goalscorer and recklessly putting his head into Muller’s before rightfully receiving his marching orders for the offence.
The nightmare was made worse by Muller right on the stroke of halftime as he smashed a high drive past Patricio following a fine ball into his feet by the ever involved Toni Kroos, who recorded his second assist of the afternoon.
Ricardo Costa came on for Miguel Veloso as the second half began and did his job stifling the German Blitzkrieg. The only chance of note in the opening 25 minutes of the second period was an unconvincing effort from Mesut Ozil that Patricio saved with ease.
15 minutes from time, Portugal were controversially not awarded a penalty when Eder was fouled inside the area by Howedes, but the referee waved it away, to the disdain of the drained Portuguese masses.
Miroslav Klose is being talked about as breaking Ronaldo’s World cup goalscoring record, but his international team mate Muller may break that record in this world cup if his form from this game continues. He completed a deserved hat trick just over 10 minutes from the climax as Howedes found Schurrle. The Chelsea man then brilliantly picked out the Bayern forward who bundled home.
In stoppage time, the anonymous Ronaldo attempted to grab a consolation for Portugal but even his best free kick of the afternoon could not beat the seldom tested Neuer as Germany opened their group G account in fine fashion.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels (Shkodran Mustafi 73), Per Mertesacker, Berndt Howedes; Philip Lahm, Sami Khedira; Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil (Andre Schurrle 63); Thomas Muller (Lukas Podolski 82).
Subs not used: Ron-Robert Zieler (GK), Roman Weidenfeller (GK), Kevin Grosskreutz, Matthias Ginter, Eric Durm,Christoph Kramer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Julian Draxler, Miroslav Klose.
Portugal: Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao; Miguel Veloso (Ricardo Costa 46); Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles; Nani, Hugo Almeida (Eder 28), Cristiano Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Beto (GK), Eduardo (GK), Luis Neto, William Carvalho, Ruben Amorim, Andre Almeida, Vieirinha, Rafael Silva, Helder Postiga, Silvestre Varela.
Booked: Pereira (11)
Sent off: Pepe (37)
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)
Extratime.com Man of the Match: Thomas Muller (Germany).