SALVADOR/CUTIRIBA — Thomas Muller’s hat-trick inspired Germany to a 4-0 mauling of 10-man Portugal in their opening World Cup football finals Group G match yesterday.
The Germans delivered a sizzling attacking display that underlined their tag as strong title contenders and the match, billed as a clash of European heavyweights, was over as a contest by halftime.
Two Muller goals and a thumping Mats Hummels header blew away a Portugal side whose misery was compounded by a needless 37th minute red card for Pepe.
The defender, furious at what he felt was “simulation” by Muller following a slight collision between the two, was sent off for pushing his head into the German’s face as he sat on the ground.
Muller was named the Man of the Match for his efforts in front of goal.
Speaking after the match, Muller said that his side took their chances in front of goal and that coupled with the Portuguese side tiring saw them to victory.
“We started the game well and everything went brilliantly for us,” Muller said.
“We had chances at the start and the second goal came from a dead-ball situation and gave us a pretty big cushion.
“We made the most of our chances and though the second goal didn’t exactly kill the game, we knew it would be difficult for them to come back, even more so with just ten men.”
The demolition will send a strong message to Germany’s rival title contenders.
In the second match, Iran and Nigeria stuttered in front of goal, as they played out to a 0-0 draw in the Group F clash at Arena de Baixada. This was the first draw at this year’s World Cup, as both sides struggled to put the ball in the back of net.
Victor Moses was presented with the first chance of the game in the third minute, the winger cut in from the right before firing straight at Haghighi.
Ogenyi Onazi came close in the 12th minute as the Lazio midfielder fired just wide of the left-hand from the edge of the area. After long spells of possession from the Nigerians, they first meaningful chance arrived in the 31st minute, as Ahmed Musa’s curling free-kick produced a fine save from Haghighi.
Iran were presented with the best chance of the first half in the 37th minute, as Reza Ghoochannejhad’s glancing header forced Vincent Enyeama into a brilliant save from point blank range.
That chance certainly woke up the Iranians, as they finished the first half the stronger of the two.
Ghoochnnejhad came close in the 62nd minute with a curling effort from 20-yards out that flew just wide of the upright.
Substitute, Shola Ameobi nearly broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, as the striker headed just wide of the upright.
Both sides pushed on for the winner in the latter stages, but the final ball from both sides were lacking.