THE DAY REPLAYED There can be no doubt that Matchday 5 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ was one of premieres and series. Not only did Thomas Muller score the first hat-trick of the tournament in Germany’s 4-0 thumping of Portugal, but Nigeria and Iran recorded the first goalless draw – doing so in game 13.
On top of that, in netting the fastest goal at Brazil 2014 so far against Ghana, USA’s Clint Dempsey wrote his name in his country’s record books. And after succumbing to 2-1 defeats to the Black Stars at the past two finals, the Stars and Stripes finally got their own back, and with a measure of poetic justice at that, winning 2-1.
Meanwhile, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will be happy to have the game against title favourites Germany behind him. The victors of that encounter became the first side to reach a century of World Cup matches, chalking up their 61st win to go alongside 19 draws and 20 defeats.
Germany 4-0 Portugal – Budweiser Man of the Match: Thomas Muller (GER)
Iran 0-0 Nigeria – Budweiser Man of the Match: John Obi Mikel (NGA)
Ghana 1-2 USA – Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey (USA)
Ronaldo’s miserable run continues
The stage was set for Cristiano Ronaldo to dazzle at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, with ear-splitting cheers arising from both Portuguese and Brazilian fans when the stadium announcer read out his name. Countless placards were visible around the stands, and their messages – ‘There’s only one Ronaldo’ and ‘I want a child with Cristiano’ – showed the depth of support behind the Real Madrid attacker. Yet Portugal’s No7 was unable to live up to expectations and instead continued his poor run of results against Germany: it was the fourth time he has faced them at a major tournament since 2006 and he has left the field on the losing side on each occasion, failing to find the target at all.
Dempsey quick off the blocks
There were only 25 seconds on the clock when USA captain Dempsey cut inside at pace from the left and burst into the box, outfoxed several defenders and rifled a left-footed effort into the bottom corner. That strike ensured that the self-proclaimed Diego Maradona fan became the first American player to score at three different World Cups.
Muller’s goals against Portugal in his 50th outing in a Germany shirt meant that he has now hit the net in his last four consecutive World Cup matches, equalling the feats of Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann. The only Germans to have bettered that record are Helmut Rahn and Muller’s namesake Gerd. Indeed, the tally of World Cup goals scored by players called Muller has risen to 25: Gerd leads the way with 14, Thomas has eight, Dieter has two and Hansi just the one.
16 years without victory
Nigeria and Iran have respectively made five and four finals appearances, and the nations have one thing in common following their goalless meeting in Brazil: neither has managed to win a World Cup match since 1998, when Nigeria beat USA 2-1 and Iran edged past Bulgaria 1-0.
44 – A total of 44 goals have been scored in the first 14 matches at Brazil 2014, giving an average of 3.14 per game. If that ratio continues across all 64 encounters then it would shatter the all-time goalscoring record of 171 (not including penalty shoot-outs), set at France 1998.
The social hub
German chancellor Angela Merkel visits the Germany dressing room after the final whistle.
Belgium – Algeria, 13:00, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
Brazil – Mexico, 16:00, Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza
Russia – Korea Republic, 18:00, Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba
(All times given are local)
Have your say…
Thomas Muller scored the first hat-trick at this World Cup. Can he win the adidas Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading goalscorer again?