Thomas Mueller scored three times as Germany beat Portugal 4-0 in their Group G game at the World Cup in Brazil. Portugal was reduced to 10 men after Pepe was sent off for headbutting the German.
Also today, fans booed at the end of a goalless Group F match in Curitiba between Iran and Nigeria, the first draw in the tournament. Nigeria is winless in nine World Cup matches since a 1-0 victory against Bulgaria in 1998. The result leaves Argentina atop the pool following a 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina yesterday.
Mueller scored with a 12th-minute penalty kick and added a second goal just before halftime in Salvador as the Portuguese defense failed to deal with a pass. In the second half, he knocked in a ball that goalkeeper Rui Patricio couldn’t reach. Mats Hummels added Germany’s other goal in the 32nd minute with a header.
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Mueller was involved in the other significant action of the half. He went down after Pepe’s hand made contact with his face as they battled for the ball outside the Portuguese penalty area. With Mueller seated on the ground, Pepe leaned forward and his head made contact with the German striker’s. Serbian referee Milorad Mazic dismissed Pepe with a red card.
In the 12th minute, Mueller scored from the penalty spot after Mario Goetze was brought down. Joao Pereira received a yellow card for the foul. Hummels outleaped Portugal’s defenders on a corner kick and headed the ball in 20 minutes later.
Mueller was replaced by Lukas Podolski shortly after his goal in the 78th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the World Player of the Year, didn’t have much impact on the match. Several of his free kicks struck defensive walls and it wasn’t until the 91st minute that he troubled German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who blocked his 40-yard (36 meter) free kick.
Also in Group G today, the U.S. meets Ghana. The top two teams in each group move on to the round of 16, with the winner of one group playing the runnerup of another.
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