Before the first match in last night’s round of World Cup fixtures all the talk was about Ronaldo’s fitness for Portugal’s game against Germany. And when he was judged to be fit, the world expected a fierce encounter between two of the world’s best sides.
But the Germans dominated proceedings after Joao Pereira pulled down Mario Gotze in the penalty box in the 12th minute, resulting in Thomas Muller scoring from the spot.
Mats Hummels then rose to head in a corner on the 32nd minute before Pepe got sent off for head-butting Muller (who went down rather easily just before after an errant arm from the notoriously hot-headed Portuguese enforcer.)
From then on it was a walk in the park for Germany, with Muller adding two goals to his penalty to become the first player in this year’s World Cup to bag a hat-trick.
It ended Germany 4 – 0 Portugal.
On the other hand there were no goals in the game between Nigeria and Iran, resulting in the first draw of the tournament.
Iran, led by former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz, were able to hold off the Africans with some good defensive work.
The African champions held most of the ball, but were unable to carve out a clear cut opportunity with the Iranians limiting them to long-shots and crosses.
It’s the first time Iran have managed a clean-sheet in the World Cup finals, but more importantly it’s a small step forward in their slim hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.
The last game of the day saw another dramatic ending what has so far been a World Cup of surprises.
Ghana have always seemed to get the better of USA and have knocked them out of two previous World Cup campaigns. However, this year, the curse was finally lifted as the United States started with a lot of energy before a late header gave them a 2-1 victory.
Clint Dempsey was first off the mark, scoring the country’s fastest ever tournament goal, clocked at 30 seconds. The African side continued to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser as Jozy Altidore was replaced through injury.
In the 82nd minute, Ghana’s pressure eventually paid off as Asamoah Gyan’s perfectly timed back-heel met Andre Ayew just outside the six-yard box before he sent the ball flying into the back of the net with only eight minutes remaining.
With the game looking likely to end in a draw, a Graham Zusi corner met the head of substitute John Brooks, who on his debut gave his team all three points with only four minutes of time left to be played.