Saturday - Sep 23, 2017

World Cup Round up- Day Six – Muller shows Ronaldo the way to goal

World Cup Round up- Day Six - Muller shows Ronaldo the way to goal

In what was expected to be a much harder fought, evenly matched contest, Germany proved far too strong for Portugal in Group G thanks to a ruthless attacking display which saw them open their World Cup campaign in style.

Whilst the Germany’s displayed no weaknesses, particularly outstanding wasThomas Muller, who became the first hat-trick scorer of the 2014 World Cup tournament to date.

Theoretically Muller is well on target to win the Golden Boot in this year’s tournament, having also done so in in South Africa four years ago. The difference is that in 2010 the German won the award having scored just five goals, with all indications that this year’s World Cup will produce significantly more goals than that in South Africa, which only yielded 145 goals, while the 2014 tournament with 50 games still to be played has already produced 44.

Portugal looked out of their depth almost from the kick-off, with Ronaldo looking jaded after a long season and obviously still carrying an injury. With Nani who has been more or less closely confined to the treatment room or the bench during the last season at Manchester United was completely out of touch, while the defense dominated by Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Pepe were having difficulties coping with fast running German flankers Ozil and Goetze.

It was no surprise when the Germans took the lead, from a penalty kick brilliantly converted by Muller, after Mario Gotze was hauled down after forcing his way past Joao Pereira.

Portugal did their best to press forward to force an equalizer, however the frailties in the defense were cruelly exposed before half-time when giant defender Mats Hummels rose unhindered to power home a header with half-time approaching.

With the Portuguese is looking for some half time respite, it must have never seemed further away for them in the 37th minute, after a regrettable incident when the ever petulant Pepe once again lost his cool and got himself a red card.

Pepe’s expulsion was as unnecessary as it was predictable, when Muller made the best of being hit by a flailing arm from the huge central defender, who totally overreacted to Miller’s histrionics by bending down and symbolically nudging his head against the German striker in full view of Bosnian referee Milorad Mazic.
The Real Madrid man dismissal may prove crucial to Portugal’s hopes of reaching the last 16, with the likelihood of him being suspended for the next two group stage games.

Just a few minutes after Pepe’s ignominious dismissal, Muller put the match out of Portugal’s reach, after Bruno Alves carelessly half cleared a Goetze free kick straight to his feet, and he reacted sharply to lash a shot under Patricio.

In the second half Germany dropped a gear, or even two, with possible professional etiquette preventing them from wreaking further havoc on the Portuguese, although Muller did complete his hatrick after substitute Schurrle’s cross-cum-shot from a tight angle was fumbled by goalkeeper Patricio and the lanky striker was on hand to tap home from close range, as Portugal conceded four goals in a World Cup game for the first time in their history.

Ronaldo and his band of not so merry men now find themselves at the bottom of Group G needing victories against the United States and Ghana, which on the form the displayed yesterday looks like a major task

Group F got under way with two of the weakest teams on paper taking part in the tournament dishing up its first draw, and goalless to boot.

Managed by the former Manchester United coach Carlos Queiroz Iran put up a disciplined performance against the lively Nigerians, who let themselves down badly due to their lack of finishing ability.

African champions Nigeria now faces the anticipated battle for second place against Bosnia-Hercegovina, while Iran can only hope for the best against on Saturday against Argentina.

In the other match in Group G central defender John Brooks grabbed the winner late on for the USA in their match against Ghana, who have met and defeated the Americans in the previous two World Cups.

USA started as if they meant to wreak revenge on the Ghanains in style, taking the lead within the first minute with veteran captain Cliff Dempsey scoring a brilliant solo goal in the first minute. However, despite their dream start, the Americans failed to press home their advantage, and control of the match began to revert to the Ghanains, fancied by many to be the strongest African team in the tournament.

Despite the Black Stars’ almost total possession, they could not find a way past goalkeeper Tim Howard, till the 82nd minute, when they reaped the rewards of their unyielding pressure when Andre Ayew scored the equalizer after some brilliant build up play between him and Asamoah Gyan.

Ghana’s joy was to be short-lived, however, as defender Brooks rose highest to score with a brilliant header from a corner with only four minutes remaining on the clock.

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