17 Jun 2014

Germany open their Cup with Portugal humiliation

12:54 pm on 17 June 2014

Thomas Mueller's hat-trick inspired Germany to a ruthless 4-0 mauling of 10-man Portugal in their opening World Cup football group G match and underlined their credentials as serious title contenders.

Billed as a clash of European heavyweights, the Germans ignored the sizzling Salvador heat to deliver a sizzling attacking display that ensured the game was over as a contest by half-time.

Portugal could not cope with their opponents' pace and movement and were 3-0 down by the interval as Mueller, marking his 50th international, scored either side of a thumping Mats Hummels header.

It was Germany's 100th World Cup match, the first team to reach the milestone.

Portugal's task was made even harder by a needless 37th minute red card for Pepe.

The defender, furious at what he felt was "simulation" by Mueller following a slight collision between the two, was sent off for pushing his head into the German's face as he sat on the ground.

The victory extended Germany's run of having won every opening World Cup match since 1990 and they have scored at least four goals in five of those seven games.

The demolition will send a strong message to Germany's rival title contenders in Brazil and left Portugal looking nervously at qualification with games against the US and Ghana to come.