Mueller magic

Mueller magic
GOOD AND BAD: Mats Hummel putting Germany 2-0 up, but he later hobbled off with an injury.



(Thomas Mueller 12-pen, 45+1, 78, Mats Hummels 32)


Portugal were supposed to be one of the outsiders for this World Cup, but a hideous afternoon of self-inflicted misery has put even their progression to the next stage in jeopardy.

Crushed 4-0 by a rampant Germany, they only had themselves to blame.

Portugal had no coherent gameplan from the start, short of knocking it long for an uncomfortable-looking Cristiano Ronaldo. On the other flank, Luis Nani was a huge disappointment, wasting possession and spurning chances.

Behind them, Portugal's distribution was desperately poor. And then there was Pepe.

Already two goals down, Portugal needed cool heads.

What they got was a head so hot it could melt steel.

Having already caught Thomas Mueller in the mouth with an outstretched hand, Pepe followed up the offence by forcing his head into the German's face.

Mueller's reaction to the initial contact was poor, he made the most of the offence, but Pepe has been at the top level of football long enough to know what happens when you rise to the bait.

Referee Milorad Mazic had no choice but to show him a straight red card.

The warning signs had been there from the start.

Germany lined up with four centre-backs and no striker, with manager Joachim Loew preferring to use Philipp Lahm in midfield and Jerome Boateng at right back.

But if there were fears that they would lack width or support for false No. 9 Mueller, they were profoundly misplaced.

Germany started with the fluency of a team not playing their first game, but deep into a tournament.

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