World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 5

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 5

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    Day 5 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought us our first draw of the tournament, along with the first game which could be termed anything less than exciting, but there were two more games of interest besides.

    Germany wrecked Portugal's opening day with a 4-0 win before the boring 0-0 draw between Nigeria and Iran.

    The final game of the day featured a fantastic clash between United States and Ghana—with the former winning 2-1 on a late goal. Here are all the biggest winners and losers from another great day of World Cup action.

Loser: Pepe

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    Not for the first time and doubtlessly not for the last, Portugal centre-back Pepe reacted in a ridiculous manner on the pitch and earned himself a straight red card.

    Thomas Mueller exaggerated contact by Pepe on his face, going to ground, but Pepe's furious reaction and headbutt into the German forward was only going to see one outcome.

    Pepe will miss Portugal's next World Cup match against the United States. 

Loser: Everything Portuguese

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    One man sent off, but that wasn't the end of Portugal's misery.

    They were roundly beaten by Germany, losing 4-0. To make matters worse, they lost two players to injuries. 

    Hugo Almeida, their No. 9 striker, left the field injured in the first half, before left-back Fabio Coentrao followed him in the second.

    It was an all-round day to forget for everybody associated with the Portugal national team.

Winner: Germany's Hat-Trick Hero

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    Germany boss Jogi Low had a few questions asked of him when he named just one natural striker in his World Cup squad, but even without a true No. 9 they racked up four goals on their opening day and saw one of their own score the first hat-trick of the finals.

    Thomas Mueller notched it, scoring a penalty, a low finish and a tap-in, with Mats Hummels burying a header for the other goal.

    Mueller moves into the lead as the early top scorer at the finals as a result.

Loser: Almost Everything to Do with Iran vs. Nigeria

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    We had it too good; it had to end some time.

    The excellent run of games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup came to a crashing, shambolic end as Iran and Nigeria drew 0-0 in Group F on Monday.

    From the passing to the set pieces, the tempo to the invention on show, there were very, very few positive conclusions to draw from the match.

    Props must go to Iran, which clearly looked to take a point and were successful in doing that, but Nigeria made it very easy for them with a dreadful lack of quality going forward.

Winner: Deuce Nets the Quickest Goal of the World Cup

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    Just 34 seconds is all Clint Dempsey needed to make fans forget the boring draw of the previous game, showing great skill and awareness to open the scoring in Ghana vs. United States.

    The American forward took the ball in off the left channel, beat a defender and finished clinically to score the fastest goal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    It ended up being the first in a vital win for the United States.

Loser: Jozy's Hamstring

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    Jozy Altidore is something of a scapegoat at times due to his poor goals record, but he plays a big role in the United States tactical plan.

    Occupying defenders and stretching the pitch with his pace and power, Altidore does a lot of the work that allows Clint Dempsey to do his work on the ball.

    Altidore pulled his hamstring inside the first half-hour of the match. Yahoo Sports' Martin Rogers tweeted this update: "Jozy Altidore has a strained left hamstring according to US Soccer. Strained doesn't mean he's out for the tournament, but it did look bad."

    Unless he's extremely fortunate, that will be the end of his World Cup.

Winner: Keeping Going Right Until the End, Always

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    We saw it with Switzerland: Keep going, and results can come. Right in the last minutes, if necessary.

    Costa Rica, Colombia and Chile have all also netted late strikes in games they won, not to mention Brazil in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup.

    This time around, United States have turned a difficult situation, when Ghana were on top in the game, to force a late strike of their own and take victory by a 2-1 scoreline.

    If any description was needed on just how important that goal, that result, that moment in the World Cup was, John Brooks' face shows it all.