Mueller hat-trick puts Ronaldo in shade as Germany routs Portugal 4-0
SALVADOR - Agence France-Presse
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo stands on the pitch as German players celebrate following Portugal's 4-0 loss to Germany during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, June 16. AP PhotoThomas Mueller spectacularly stole the limelight from World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo on June 16 with a hat-trick in a stunning 4-0 demolition of 10-man Portugal at the World Cup.
Bayern Munich star Mueller marked his 50th international appearance in style with a 12th-minute penalty and a first-half injury time strike.
He then grabbed his third in the 78th minute with defender Mats Hummels having also got on the scoresheet in the first period. Ronaldo, who was playing despite having suffered a knee injury, hardly figured as his career World Cup goals tally remained on a paltry two.
Mueller was also involved in the first half dismissal of Portugal defender Pepe after he appeared to be headbutted by the Real Madrid man.
Watched by German leader Angela Merkel and buoyed by news earlier in the day that national sporting hero Michael Schumacher had emerged from his lengthy coma, the three-time champions tore into Portugal. After Ronaldo had missed his only chance of the first half and Sami Khedira went narrowly wide from 30 yards after goalkeeper's Rui Patricio botched clearance, Germany struck in the 11th minute.
Joao Pereira hauled down Mario Goetze and Mueller tucked the penalty kick into Patricio's bottom right corner.
On the half-hour mark, it was 2-0 with Borussia Dortmund defender Hummels muscling in to head powerfully into the net off a corner from Toni Kroos.
Two minutes later uncompromising defender Pepe was sent-off for the 13th time in his career for throwing his hands into the face of Mueller who fell theatrically to the ground.
Pepe's fate was sealed when he followed up with a headbutt on the Bayern Munich player. Portugal were haunted by Mueller in injury-time again as the German star drove the ball past Patricio.
Mueller completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute before Ronaldo had a last-minute sighting of goal with a free-kick parried away by Manuel Neuer.