Die Mannschaft rolled over a hapless Portuguese side, 4-0, in their World Cup Group G opener in Salvador on Monday. Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller struck the first hat trick of the tournament, and defender Mats Hummels thundered home a header on a corner kick, while Real Madrid defender Pepe was shown a first-half red card for a headbutt on Muller.
GET ON THE GERMAN BANDWAGON: Many people consider Joachim Low's team to be one of the favorites to win the whole shebang. This performance won’t do anything but reinforce that. Their stars showed up, they dominated every statistical category (except corner kicks!), and Muller put on a clinic in finishing.
PORTUGAL'S MOMENT(S) OF MADNESS: We all know that Pepe has the potential to lose his head, but who knew he'd try to use his noggin like this during a World Cup game? He was rightly given his marching orders in the 37th minute for this headbutt on Muller:
MULLER = CHEATER? On the other hand, Pepe's sentiment is understandable. He went after Muller because of the German's oh-so-dramatic fall on a play that, if Pepe had not flipped out, would've quickly been forgotten. In fact, given all the anti-flopping rhetoric after Brazil's Fred went down in the box in the Cup opener, Muller probably would've come in for plenty of criticism. "I'd like to see it on the TV," Muller said afterward. "I hope it looked OK. He hit me in the face with the fist and what happened after that I can't really say. I hope it didn't look stupid."
INJURIES & MORE INJURIES: Portugal lost two important starters in the match: Besiktas forward Hugo Almeida and Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao, who was stretchered off in the second half. But Germany didn't escape unscathed, as defender and goalscorer Hummels limped off late. No immediate word on prognoses for any of the three.
THE VIEW FROM THE USMNT: Other than a red card to Cristiano Ronaldo, there probably isn't an outcome US fans could've hoped for more going into next Sunday's clash with Portugal in Manaus. The Portuguese confidence took a major blow, two important players stretchered off, Pepe's red card means that Portugal are going to be shorthanded. Though some people were hoping Pepe's hotheadedness might hold out a few more days.
Blow for US Pepe just saw red. Means he can no longer be sent off be sent off when Portugal play us in Manaus— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 16, 2014
MAN OF THE MATCH: Thomas Muller, Germany. Duh. He scored a hat trick.