There was much Real Madrid interest in yesterday’s clash between Portugal and Germany with four Los Blancos players taking part.
And for Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao and Pepe, it was a nightmare start to the World Cup as they went down 4-0 to the 2010 semi-finalists, Sami Khedira putting in an impressive performance for Joachom Low’s team.
Much was expected of Portugal with Ronaldo, the Ballon d’Or winner amongst their ranks. And indeed it was the Portuguese who started brightly in the opening 10 minutes, with Hugo Almeida testing Manuel Neuer in the German goal.
The scare seemed to spark the Germans into life, and they were awarded a penalty in the 12th minute. Some lovely combination play between Thomas Muller, former Real star Mesut Ozil, and Maio Goetze ended when the latter was hauled down in the box. Muller dispatched the spot kick with ease.
Just after the half hour mark, Germany went two up when Mats Hummels headed home a corner, giving Portugal a mountain to climb. And despite a brief spell of possession, any hope of a comeback was ended when Pepe inexplicably imploded and he earned himself a red card. His flailing arm seemed to catch Muller, and when the Bayern Munich man went down, the Real Madrid defender reacted angrily and nudged the German with his head. An act of stupidity that cost his team.
The game was settled just before the break when Muller neat turn and tidy finish put Germany 3-0 up. At that point, many thought Ronaldo should have been taken off for bigger challenges ahead in the final two group games. Despite claiming to be fit, he was clearly well below his best and hardly had a look in.
In the second half, Germany controlled possession and were largely untroubled, apart from a penalty shout when Ronaldo went down in the area. Things went from bad to worse for Portugal though. Fabio Coentrao’s World Cup may be over already after he was stretchered off with a hamstring strain. And on 72 minutes, Muller completed his hat trick to confirm the German’s superiority.