Thomas Mueller marked his 50th international with a hat-trick as Germany strolled to a 4-0 World Cup victory over a Portugal side reduced to 10 men late in the first half of a disappoint one-sided Group G match yesterday.
It had been expected to be a close game between two strong sides but Germany took control early on as Mueller scored a 12th-minute penalty after Mario Goetze was felled, before Mats Hummels powered a header from a corner after 32 minutes.
Portugal defender Pepe, furious at what he felt was “simulation” by Mueller following a slight collision between the two, was sent off after 37 minutes for pushing his head into the German’s face as he sat on the ground.
Mueller lashed in the third in first-half stoppage time, and completed his treble with a 78th-minute tap-in after Germany had spurned a series of chances.
The 10 men of Portugal struggled to muster a response in the second half as Cristiano Ronaldo, whose fitness had been cause for concern in the build-up to the game, was forced to play the full 90 minutes, with injuries to Hugo Almeida and Fabio Coentrao leading Paulo Bento to use all three substitutes by the 65th minute.
With a little over 15 minutes to play, Portugal saw a penalty appeal turned down when Eder went down in the area, and all hope was extinguished soon afterwards as Muller was able to complete his hat trick with a simple finish after Andre Schurrle’s effort was parried into his path.