Of all the first round games at the World Cup in Brazil, the opening Group G match between Germany and Portugal, was expected to be a highlight. Germany are one of the favourites coming into the tournament and Portugal are perennial challengers in any tournament.
Unfortunately the match failed to deliver and, despite the 4-0 scoreline including a Thomas Muller hat-trick, the game ended up being a glorified training session for Germany. Now this will be attributed to the 37th minute sending off of Portugal's Pepe, thanks to a ridiculous rush of blood that led to him leading with his head and making contact with Muller. The referee had absolutely no choice but to brandish the red card, despite Muller having made a meal out of the initial incident that led to the 'butting'.
However, Portugal had been outplayed and looked unable to cope with Germany, chasing the game following the 12th minute penalty converted by that man Muller. Germany were excellent, especially Toni Kroos who seemed to always be on the ball, and of course Thomas Muller who walked away with the match ball.
Portugal were ineffective in every area of the pitch and looked out of ideas once they had gone behind. Fabio Coentrao was probably the best Portuguese player on the pitch until he injured himself and had to be replaced. Moutinho managed a few decent passes but couldn't seem to get into any rhythm and Ronaldo had to try and do everything himself, which resulted in showing that he is not quite match fit.
Germany, in contrast, looked ominously good in every position. Even with both full-backs playing out of position as they are centre backs for their club, everyone looked at ease and like they were confident. Matts Hummels is a classy defender who capped a superb performance with a bullet header for Germany's second goal, and they rarely looked too vulnerable at the back.
The manner in which they passed the ball around Portugal and had them chasing in that heat was tactically spot on and showed they are on another level. The term "work smart, not hard" seemed quite appropriate in this context and with a high level of quality sat on the bench, they are quite rightly seen as contenders.
A silly moment from Pepe will have a lot of people thinking that the scoreline didn't reflect the game beforehand. I personally believe that even had Portugal kept 11 men on the pitch, there was every chance the scoreline may have ended up the same.
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