Germany staked their claim as tournament contenders by thrashing Portugal 4-0, Thomas Muller scored three as Pepe was sent off during the first half in Savaldor.
As the game began all eyes were on this year’s FIFA Ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo but in the end it was the German team who stole the show.
Germany took the lead after just 11 minutes when Mario Gotze was pulled down in the box by Portugal’s Joao Pereira, Muller coolly converted the resulting penalty.
The German’s took control of the game and doubled their lead after half an hour when Mats Hummels rose above the Portuguese defence to header home a cross from a corner.
It was then that the wheels really fell off for Portugal when Pepe raised his hands against Muller and then delivering a tame, but obvious, headbutt to the German striker while he sat on the ground.
With the referee just yards from the incident he had no choice but to show the Portuguese defender a red card and reduce his side to ten men before half time.
To make matters worse for Paulo Bento’s men conceded a third goal in first half stoppage time, again Muller was the scorer with a low driven shot inside the area, goalkeeper Rui Patricio got a foot to it but couldn’t keep it from going in.
Mesut Ozil could have made it four for the Germans early in the second half when Gotze’s neat pass left him one on one with the goalkeeper but his shot was well saved and Muller could only header the rebound over the bar.
They had another glorious chance for a fourth when a counter attack ended up with Gotze through one on one but the young midfielder dwelled too long on the chance and was closed down.
Germany finally did make it four in the 78th minute, Andre Schurrle’s low cross was too much for the goalkeeper who could only spill the ball into the feet of Muller who had an easy tap in from a couple of yards out to complete his hat trick.
That goal makes Muller the tournaments leading goal scorer so far, overtaking Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Neymar who currently have two goals each.
Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure throughout the game as, not through lack of trying, he failed to have any effect of game. He showed glimpses of the player who was a formidable goal scoring machine this season but ultimately it was a disappointing display from the man who was voted the worlds best player in January 2014.
Germany will be hoping to continue this fine form as they play Ghana on Saturday 21st, while Portugal will need to improve in time for Sunday 22nd when they face the USA.
The Portuguese might have problems in defence for that game against the USA, Pepe will be suspended and Fabio Coentrao was stretchered from the pitch after appearing to pull a groin muscle stretching for a stray pass.