Germany vs. Portugal: Final score 4-0, Müller nets hat-trick as Die Mannschaft cruise to victory

Germany started their World Cup with a shock 4-0 thrashing of Portugal, after defender Pepe was sent off in the first half.

Germany started their World Cup campaign with a dominant 4-0 win over 10-man Portugal in Salvador. Thomas Müller netted a hat-trick en route to their massive victory, with Die Mannschaft putting their opponents to the sword after the Selecção had defender Pepe sent off in the first half.

Despite Germany's eventual dominance, the game actually started quite evenly. Cristiano Ronaldo was denied by the shins of Manuel Neuer, seconds before Sami Khedira missed an open goal from distance after Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patrício made a sloppy giveaway from his own box. Both sides looked rather unconvincing defensively, and given the top class attacking talent on show, an opening goal felt imminent.
Germany vs. Portugal: Final score 4-0, Müller nets hat-trick as Die Mannschaft cruise to victory
So it proved, with Germany's Thomas Müller breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 11th minute after João Pereira ended a swift German counter-attack by tugging Mario Götze down in the box. There was still no sign of a Portugal collapse, even when they went two down after the half-hour. A corner from Toni Kroos was powered into the back of the net by Mats Hummels, doubling Die Mannschaft's advantage with another set-piece goal.

Fábio Coentrão had Portugal's best chance within three minutes of Germany's second, though caught in two minds as to whether to cross or shoot from a tight angle, his tame effort was poked behind for a corner. Things only really started getting ugly a couple of minutes later, when notoriously temperamental defender Pepe raised his arm to the face of Müller and earned a red card for headbutting him once he theatrically hit the deck.

With their numerical superiority, Germany suddenly looked in total control. They all but sealed the points in stoppage time at the end of the first half, when a deep cross from Toni Kroos was chested down in the penalty area and promptly dispatched by Müller.

Germany should have netted a fourth within minutes of the restart, when Mesut Özil found himself clean through on Patrício's penalty area. However, he delayed his shot, giving the Portugal keeper enough time to get down and deny him in the one-on-one. Unfortunately that only proved to be a brief break in Portugal's misery, which continued when left-back Coentrão was stretchered off just past the hour.

Meanwhile, Germany looked like they were participating in a training ground possession exercise. They appeared capable of breaking through the Portuguese ranks at will, and they did so with about 20 minutes remaining, only for Götze to hesitate and allow the defence to recover position. Nevertheless, Germany did eventually add a fourth with 10 minutes remaining; Patricío allowing an André Schürrle cross to squirm out for Müller to poke home.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost produced a spectacular consolation with a powerful free-kick in stoppage time, though Neuer parried his stinging effort.

Germany: Neuer; Höwedes, Hummels (Mustafi 73'), Mertesacker, Boateng; Khedira, Lahm, Kroos; Götze, Özil (Schürrle 63'), Müller (Podolski 82').

Goals: Müller (pen. 12', 45+1', 78') (Hummels 32').

Portugal: Patrício; Coentrão (A. Almeida 65'), Alves, Pepe, Pereira; Meireles, Veloso (Costa 46'), Moutinho; Ronaldo, H. Almeida (Éder 28'), Nani.

Goals: None.

Red cards: Pepe (37').

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