The highly-anticipated Germany-Portugal match turned out to be a rout, even before Pepe’s flash of anger got him sent off. The Germans were all over the team in claret, dragging them this way and that. Portugal’s first bad decision came when João Pereira pulled down Mario Götze in the box. Up steps Thomas Müller… and in goes the ball. Twenty minutes later, Mats Hummels got a running start off a corner to head the ball in… 2-nil.
Then came Müller’s obvious theatrics, which raised Pepe’s ire… but why he let the blood rush to his head, we’ll never know… probably because that’s what Pepe does. Portugal are down to 10-men and Müller goes on to score two more goals, rubbing salt in Portugal’s wounds. After the match, coach Paulo Bento claimed the referee was biased against Portugal, but that’s pretty rich considering their record for flopping around (and taking pride in it). Germany 4-0 Portugal.
The other match in this group featured two teams trying to capitalize on Portugal’s slip. The U-S-A came out as expected, playing organized and physical football. Clint Dempsey gave the Stars and Stripes a dream start with the fifth-quickest goal in World Cup history. After that, things calmed down a bit. A couple of USA injuries (Jozy Altidore’s tournament appears to be over after a hamstring injury, Matt Besler came off at the half) meant that Jürgen Klinsmann had to make subs earlier than he would have liked. Ghana got a kick start in the second half when Kevin-Prince Boateng came on (it was surprising that Akwasi Appiah started neither Boateng nor Michael Essien in midfield). The Black Stars’ shots started flying in, albeit most of them from way outside the box.
After being down for 80 minutes, Asamoah Gyan gave a lovely little backheel pass to Andrew Ayew who flicked the ball past Tim Howard with the outside of his left foot. Pandemonium amongst the Ghanaian support. However, just four minutes later, the American substitute John Anthony Brooks — a man born and raised in Germany — scored a header off a corner… and earned himself his own Wheaties box. USA 2-1 Ghana