If you’re like me and forecasted Germany to win this tournament, you certainly envisioned halves like this. The Germans were dominant in the air and on the ground, forcing Portugal into fouls of frustration and a bevy of mistakes.
And if you’re a team with a superstar thinking he can carry you by Joachim Low’s unit, well, you better hope Cristiano Ronaldo was far less than healthy. Germany frustrated CR7 at nearly every turn.
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Goals (and how they happened):
12′ – Mario Gotze was dragged down in the box by Joao Pereira, who is given the yellow card. More importantly, it’s a penalty kick for Thomas Muller and, well, he’s good. Low, hard and to the right of the keeper. 1-0, Germany.
30′ – The culprit from the PK, Pereira, bails out Bruno Alves by deflecting Gotze’s shot out for a corner but the relief is short-lived. Toni Kroos sends in a beaut that Mats Hummels rises to head past Rui Patricio. 2-0, tallest team in World Cup.
45’+1 – Bruno Alves’ weak clearance attempt falls to Muller’s feet, and the German forward does what he does in the World Cup: he scores. 3-0.
Other key moments:
7′ – The third of three early counter attacks from Portugal ends with an odd-angled shot from Ronaldo that Manuel Neuer.
8′ – An awful clear from Rui Patricio comes inches from costing Portugal, as Sami Khedira’s rushed one-touch shot bounds just wide of the goal.
25′ – Nani lets fly with what could’ve been among the goals of the tournament if it dipped an inch further a moment sooner. Instead the shot from the left corner of the 18 goes over the bar.
28′ – Hugo Almeida comes off for Eder, an unwelcome moment for Portugal.
32′ – Eder nearly heads a corner in, but he didn’t leap high enough and the shot loops over the bar.
36 – RED CARD!! Pepe being Pepe… but even for him this is a moment of sheer lunacy! After Muller makes the most of Pepe’s hand to the face, the Portuguese defender puts his head into the prone forward. Just stupid. And Germany could make it nasty.
Portugal: Patricio, Alves, Pepe, Veloso, Coentrao, Ronaldo, Moutinho, Almeida, Meireles, Nani, Pereira.
Germany: Neuer, Howedes, Hummels, Khedira, Ozil, Muller, Lahm, Mertesacker, Kroos, Gotze, Boateng
Question(s) for the second half:
- Can Portugal keep their goal differential down? – They were already being controlled by the German machine before Pepe’s ludicrous decision.
- How badly can Germany punish Portugal? Same question asked in a different way.