Salvador, Brazil, June 17: Thomas Muller scored a hat trick as Germany turned on its style and power to rout 10-man Portugal 4-0 in their World Cup Group G opener on Monday.
Muller, who scored five goals at the 2010 World Cup, was ruthless against a weak Portugal team that was clearly outplayed.
With Chancellor Angela Merkel supporting in the stands, the German team celebrated its 100th World Cup match with a rousing victory that virtually assured by halftime.
Muller scored either side of Mats Hummels’ headed goal as Germany took a 3-0 lead at the break, and added his third goal in the 81st.
Portugal was already 2-0 down before Pepe was red carded in the 37th minute for apparently head-butting Mueller when the German player was sitting on the ground.
It was Muller who opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Mario Goetze had been pulled down by Joao Pereira in the box, coolly slotting the penalty kick into the right corner of Rui Patricio’s goal.
Hummels had risen above Pepe to double Germany’s lead with a well-timed header from a corner in the 32nd, and Mueller extended the buffer just before the break when he stripped the ball from Bruno Alves and drilling in a low shot.
The Bayern Munich forward completed the rout late in the second half, poking in from close range after Patricio had fumbled a low cross from substitute Andre Schuerrle.
Cristiano Ronaldo started for Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova after overcoming a knee injury. He threatened early in the match, including a shot from a break that Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer could only block, but there was nobody from Portugal to pounce on the rebound.
Portugal also lost big striker Hugo Almeida to an injury. He was replaced by Eder in the 28th.
Fabio Coentrao injured a groin muscle and was helped off the field in 65th, to be replaced by Andre Almeida.
Hummels then limped off the field with a right-knee injury, giving substitute defender Shkodran Mustafi his second cap.
US emerges bloodied and victorious against Ghana
Natal/Brazil, June 17, 2014: After 90 brutal minutes of end-to-end action, the Americans emerged with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana.
U.S. fans were screaming for revenge Monday after the Black Stars eliminated the Americans from the last two Cups.
They got it. At a price.
Clint Dempsey scored a shocking goal a half-minute in, but the U.S. couldn’t make it stand up. Andre Ayew tied the score in the 82nd minute after a brilliant back-heel pass from Asamoah Gyan, who had eliminated the U.S. four years ago.
And then, just four minutes later, 20-year-old John Brooks rose to head in Graham Zusi’s corner kick from 8 yards - the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years. The defender, an unexpected addition to the American roster, was so overcome he fell to the field and was unable to move even after teammates climbed off the dog pile. He had made his national team debut only last August, and Brooks hadn’t scored in four appearances.
U.S. players ran onto the field to celebrate at the final whistle, jumping as supporters chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!" Now the Americans are in good position in Group G, where Germany opened with a 4-0 rout of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had said this would be like a final. Jozy Altidore was hoping it wasn’t his finale.
The forward was carried off on a stretcher after his left hamstring gave out in the 21st minute when he tried to control a long ball. He awaits tests that will determine whether he can return for this World Cup.