2014 FIFA World Cup: Day Five Recap

Pepe goes head-to-head with Thomas Muller

Portugal See Red, Germans Take Advantage

Germany was already up by two goals, but a selfish red card by Pepe in the 37th minute—who protested Thomas Muller’s embellishment of a hand in his face by headbutting the German star—made a Portuguese comeback all but impossible. Muller opened the scoring with a penalty kick after Joao Pereira pulled down Mario Goetze in the area in just the 11th minute, then in the 32nd minute Mats Hummels smashed home a header from a corner kick to double Germany’s lead. Just before halftime Muller struck again, taking advantage of a slack defense and pounding right through Portuguese keeper Rui Patricio. Muller then completed his first international hat trick, hopping on a rebound and sliding it home in the 78th minute. Portugal’s best chance to score came far too late, as German keeper Manuel Neuer shoved aside a powerful free kick by Cristiano Ronaldo after the 90th minute to protect his clean sheet. Now the question on everyone’s mind will be: who’s in worse shape, Portugal or Spain?

Iran, Nigeria Duel to Cup’s First Draw

They can’t all be barnburners, and this World Cup Final has already had more than its fair share of instant classic matches. But Iran-Nigeria was never meant to be the most exciting match of the tournament, so the tournament’s first nil-nil draw was to be expected.. Iran’s one quality shot on goal resulted in an acrobatic save by Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama, but Nigeria controlled most of the offense, directing four shots at the Iranian goal. The draw could be strategically sound for both teams, who should be battling for third place in their group but could find themselves at an advantage should one team be fortunate enough not to lose to both Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

USA Withstand Ghanaian Attack

Team USA should consider themselves lucky to have taken three points out of a game Ghana thoroughly dominated. Ghana was totally unprepared at kickoff, allowing US captain Clint Dempsey the opportunity to step around just one defender and lace a shot off the inside of the far goalpost—31 seconds and already Ghana was stuck working from behind. But the Africans persevered, nearly overwhelming the Americans with an offensive onslaught that just couldn’t seem to find the target. It took 81 minutes after the opening salvo for Ghana to properly reply, Andre Ayew taking a perfect backheel pass and powering it off the outside of his foot and into the short side of the goal. But Ghanian hopes were dashed minutes later as John Brooks deposited a corner kick for his first international goal. Despite losing striker Jozy Altidore to a pulled hamstring and captain Dempsey suffering what looked like a broken nose, USA should have loads of confidence leading up to Sunday’s match against Portugal.

Tags: World Cup 2014

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