Mueller outguns Ronaldo as Germany rout Portugal
Thomas Mueller scored a hat-trick in Germany's 4-0 thrashing of Portugal on Monday to leave Cristiano Ronaldo's dreams of dominating the World Cup in tatters.
Bayern Munich star Mueller bagged the first treble of his international career as Germany, p;laying their 100th World Cup game, shrugged off a troubled build-up to the tournament to make a flying start in Group G.
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.
The 24-year-old centre forward 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.
But the biggest concern will be the form of Ronaldo, who had hoped to sparkle at the World Cup after helping Real Madrid to the Champions League this season.
The 29-year-old winger, who was battling injuries before the tournament, had declared himself 100 percent fit on the eve of the match.
However the former Manchester United star looked way below his best, and a poorly scuffed free-kick summed up his afternoon of heartbreak.
Ronaldo stormed past reporters after the match and refused to answer questions.
"Three players are down to talk to the media and I am not one of them," he said.
In Group G's other game on Monday, 2010 quarter-finalists Ghana face the United States in Natal having knocked out the Americans in the last 16 four years ago.
African champions Nigeria and Iran ground out the first draw of the tournament with a 0-0 stalemate in their Group F meeting in Curitiba.
All 12 previous games had finished with a victory, which was the most dynamic start to a World Cup since the 1934 tournament.
Meanwhile, FIFA chiefs said they would tweak the goal-line technology system being used after controversy in Sunday's game between France and Honduras.
Karim Benzema's strike in the Group E contest cannoned back off the inside of an upright across the goal at Porto Alegre's Beira-Rio Stadium.
Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares' tried to scoop it clear but the GoalControl goal-line technology system signalled the ball had crossed the line, prompting Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci to whistle for a score.
The replay system shown in the stadium at first showed no goal when the ball hit the post and then a goal after it hit Valladares. The confusion infuriated Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suarez.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said the "unique" nature of the incident -- the ball striking a post and rebounding into the Honduran goalkeeper -- had caused the confusion.
"Yesterday's situation was quite unique," she said, because it had triggered two animations.
"We are working to make it more clear. We will modify so you just see the 'goal' decision," Fischer said.
"There were no mistakes yesterday. It all worked as planned. However we are working to modify it to make much clearer for fans inside the stadiums."
Goal-line technology is being used for the first time at the 2014 World Cup following a U-turn by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
It followed the notorious incident at the 2010 finals when England midfielder Frank Lampard had a valid goal disallowed against Germany despite replays showing the ball had crossed the line.