Germany kicked off their 2014 World Cup campaign in style with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Portugal in Salvador.
Though a tight affair was expected at Arena Fonte Nova on Monday, it turned out to be anything but as a hat-trick from Thomas Mueller and a Mats Hummels header gave the Germans three crucial Group G points.
Mueller’s hat-trick was the first in the World Cup finals since 2002, following on from his fellow countryman Miroslav Klose, per Opta Franz:
Though Portugal were reduced to 10 men after centre-back Pepe had a moment of madness and headbutted Mueller in the first half, the performance of both Pepe’s victim and Hummels were something to be admired.
Hummels’ 32nd-minute bullet header to put Germany 2-0 up was sensational, though his exploits at the other end of the pitch were just as brilliant—or as the Bundesliga’s Twitter account called them, “heroic":
Keeping Portugal’s star-studded forward line is no easy feat, but the Borussia Dortmund star handled it with consummate ease and professionalism, leaving Mueller to do the damage up front.
With three goals in the tournament already, Mueller looks a shoo-in for World Cup 2014’s Golden Boot, adding to his World Cup 2010 prize, per Gary Lineker:
The World Cup just appears to bring the best out of the 24-year-old, and his goalscoring record speaks for itself, as BBC Sport revealed:
His clinical first-half double put Germany into an unassailable lead at the interval, but his third goal summed up exactly what the Bayern Munich man is all about.
After Andre Schurrle’s cross was stopped by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, Mueller was on hand to tap home and claim the matchball—something that Lee Westwood agrees he has a habit of doing:
With fellow Group G heavyweights Portugal safely negotiated, Germany now need to find a way past Ghana and USA to reach the knockout stage.
If Mueller and Hummels can show the kind of form that they did against the Portuguese, though, that shouldn’t be a problem for Joachim Low’s men.