Germany mark World Cup century in style, U.S. upset Ghana

Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:01pm EDT
 
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By David Ljunggren

MANAUS Brazil (Reuters) - Germany marked their 100th World Cup game in style on Monday by thumping shambolic Portugal 4-0 in the midday sun to confirm their billing as title contenders while the United States snatched a win over Ghana.

The tournament continued to live up to its reputation as one of the best in recent years and in a hugely enjoyable, fast-paced game the U.S. grabbed a late goal for a surprise 2-1 victory over their deflated opponents.

Earlier, African champions Nigeria could only stumble to a dire goalless draw with Iran in the first really poor game spectators have seen in Brazil.

Germany became the first team to notch up a century of World Cup games and Thomas Mueller's hat-trick - the first of the tournament - easily saw off of Portugal in a 4-0 win in their Group G opener in Salvador.

The occasion had been billed as clash between two European heavyweights but was effectively over in the opening 45 minutes when the Germans scored three times and combative Portuguese center back Pepe was sent off.

In the second half, Germany played at a much slower pace as the stupefying heat took its toll but still scored a fourth goal through Mueller.

"It was incredibly hot on the pitch. It's nice to get a great win like this today but we've still got a long way to go," Germany captain Philipp Lahm said.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento suggested the referee was biased in favor of Germany but his players let him down badly.   Continued...

 
Germany's Thomas Mueller (L) shoots to score against Portugal for his hat-trick during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador June 16, 2014.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch