SALVADOR- Thomas Mueller scored a hat-trick in Germany’s 4-0 thrashing of Portugal on Monday to shatter Cristiano Ronaldo’s dreams of dominating the World Cup.
Bayern Munich star Mueller bagged the first treble of his international career as Germany, playing their 100th World Cup game, shrugged off a troubled build-up to make a flying start to the tournament.
The United States shocked Ghana 2-1 in the day’s other Group G game, with American captain Clint Dempsey scoring after just 30 seconds. Iran and Nigeria fought a goalless draw in Group F, the first with no winner at these World Cup finals.
But it was a disastrous afternoon at Salvador’s Fonte Nova Arena for Ronaldo and Portugal, who had defender Pepe sent off for a first half headbutt on Mueller.
Mueller opened the score from the penalty spot after 12 minutes. Defender Mats Hummels doubled Germany’s advantage on the half-hour mark.
Mueller struck again at the end of the first half before tapping home a close range effort on 78 minutes.
“It’s glorious to score three goals in a game like that,” said Mueller.
“That doesn’t happen every day, but I have had a good run at World Cups and I wanted to pick up where I left off,” added Mueller, who burst onto the international stage at the 2010 World Cup where he finished joint top-scorer with five goals.
A wretched outing for Portugal was compounded by the sight of Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao being stretchered off in the second half.