In one of the glamour ties of the group stages Germany hammered ten-man Portugal 4-0 yesterday.
Portugal were reduced to ten men on 37 minutes when Real Madrid centre-back Pepe was dismissed after a clash with Germany’s hat trick hero Thomas Muller.
In truth though, Germany were already in control of the game at that point and winning by two goals.
The sending off may have affected the score line, but it did not affect the destiny of the points.
Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller scored a hat trick and was outstanding throughout the game, even if his clash with Pepe was unsavoury.
The 24-year-old has already made over 50 appearances for his country and is one of Germany’s highly-rated current crop of young players.
Muller is often underrated, possibly because he is regarded as a jack of all trades. He has played in all the attacking midfield positions during his career for both club and country. However, whatever position he plays in he seems to find space and be in the right place at the right time.
Muller started the game as a centre-forward and looks to have justified Joachim Low’s decision to include Miroslav Klose as the only out and out striker in his squad. Muller versatility is a great asset, but it can work against him. Wherever he plays he seems to produce a good performance though.
Muller may not be as easy on the eye as the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Arjen Robben, but he is highly effective for his country and has now scored eight goals in his last seven World Cup finals appearances.
Muller was not the only player who impressed in the game though. One of the other stars of the show was Muller’s Bayern Munich teammate Mario Gotze. The youngster enjoyed a decent first season in Bavaria finding the net ten times in 27 league appearances for the German giants. However, just 20 of those appearances were starts.
The 22-year-old produced a bright display supporting lone striker Muller in attack. Gotze showed against Portugal why he is regarded as one of the best young up and coming attacking midfielders in the world game.
He outshone Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil, who put in decent display himself. If Gotze continues in the same vein in this tournament then he is unlikely to have many worries about being in the Bayern Munich starting line-up next season.
Germany was very good, but Portugal was very poor. They are a decent team, but on this showing they could fail to even get out of the group stage. Star player Cristiano Ronaldo entered the tournament with an injury and maybe that affected his performance in yesterday’s game.
Too many times he tried to score spectacular goals from long-range, when he could have passed the ball to better placed teammates. He looked desperate to impress on the big stage, but failed miserably.
Hopefully for the tournament’s sake Ronaldo’s performances improve in the next two group games, because he is the current Ballon d’Or holder and is regarded as one of the stars of the beautiful game.
Anyway back to Germany. The Germans always seemed comfortable and in control of this game. The Portuguese never really looked like making it much of a contest, as the likes of Gotze and Muller worked their magic.
On this evidence Germany should also qualify comfortably for the last 16, as Portugal are rated as the second best team in Group G. USA moved to second in the group with a 2-1 victory over Ghana last night, so Germany will be confident of topping the group.
No European nation has ever won a World Cup on South American soil. Germany proved in yesterday’s game that they are likely to be a very dangerous team in the latter stages of the competition.
Joachim Low’s team entered the competition as one of the favourites and are currently odds of 9/2, third favourites behind Argentina and Brazil to win the tournament. On this display they certainly look like a good bet to do so.
Will Germany now go on and win the World Cup?