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    World Cup: Germany Shuts Out Portugal 4-0

    Germany's Thomas Mueller kicks to score his team's fourth goal, his third in the match, past Portugal's Rui Patricio during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
    Germany's Thomas Mueller kicks to score his team's fourth goal, his third in the match, past Portugal's Rui Patricio during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
    Reuters
    Thomas Mueller's hat-trick inspired Germany to a 4-0 mauling of 10-man Portugal in their opening World Cup Group G match on Monday.

    The Germans delivered a sizzling attacking display that underlined  their tag as strong title contenders and the match, billed as a clash of European heavyweights, was over as a contest by halftime.

    Two Mueller goals and a thumping Mats Hummels header blew away a Portugal side whose misery was compounded by a needless 37th minute red card for Pepe.

     The defender, furious at what he felt was "simulation'' by Mueller following a slight collision between the two, was sent off for pushing his head into the German's face as he sat on the ground.

    In their 100th World Cup match, the first team to reach the milestone, Germany were in the mood to party in the sapping Salvador sunshine and went ahead after 12 minutes through Mueller from the penalty spot after the clever Mario Goetze was hauled down.
     
    Germany's Mats Hummels celebrates after their second goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Portugal at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.Germany's Mats Hummels celebrates after their second goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Portugal at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
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    Germany's Mats Hummels celebrates after their second goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Portugal at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
    Germany's Mats Hummels celebrates after their second goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Portugal at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador, June 16, 2014.
    Hummels powered home the second from a corner on 32 minutes before Mueller, top scorer at the World Cup four years ago, stole in ahead of a sleepy Bruno Alves to smash in the third in first-half stoppage-time.

     The interchanging attack of Goetze, Mueller and Mesut Ozil bamboozled Portugal, whose talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was left a frustrated observer for much of the match, a late long-range  free kick parried by Manuel Neuer his best moment.

    With German Chancellor Angela Merkel watching in the crowd, Mueller completed the first hat-trick of the tournament after 78 minutes, prodding home a spilled Andre Schuerrle cross and extending his country's run of having won every opening World Cup match since 1990.

    The demolition will send a strong message to Germany's rival title contenders in Brazil and left Portugal looking nervously at qualification with games against the U.S. and Ghana to come. 

    Click here to check out our special World Cup site
     
    • An Argentina soccer fan cheers outside the Maracana Stadium before the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Bosnia, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 15, 2014.
    • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (right) receives German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is in Brazil to attend the upcoming Germany v. Portugal 2014 World Cup game, in Brasilia, June 15, 2014.
    • Tourists display their Brazilian World Cup fever, São Paulo, June 13, 2014. (Gesell Tobias/VOA)
    • A street vendor sells everything from Brazilian flags to green and yellow cowboy hats, in São Paulo, June 13, 2014. (Gesell Tobias/VOA)
    • Fans watch a public screening of the Argentina v. Bosnia Herzegovina World Cup match on a huge outdoor monitor, in Rio de Janeiro, June 15, 2014. (Brian Allen/VOA)
    • Bosnia's Izet Hajrovic takes a free kick during the 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Argentina at the Maracana stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, June 15, 2014.
    • Fans of Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrate a goal against Argentina during a public screening of the 2014 World Cup soccer match on Sarajevo main square, June 16, 2014.
    • A man who identified himself as a police officer points his gun at anti-World Cup protesters blocking a road that leads to the Maracana stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 15, 2014.
    • A carpet depicting a soccer field is placed at the exit of an aircraft during the 2014 World Cup, at Belem airport, Brazil, June 15, 2014.
    • Street art depicts Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and U.S. President Barack Obama, in Salvador, June 15, 2014.
    • A protester holds a sign that reads "We want schools, subways, trains, buses, boats, hospitals of FIFA standard" in front of riot police during a demonstration against the public spending for the 2014 World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro, June 15, 2014.

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