Four hours before Clint Dempsey was slotting the USMNT into the lead against Ghana via a shot deftly placed against the far post, Portugal was walking off the field against Germany with more questions than answers. The Germans were always favorites to take the top spot in Group G, but Portugal appeared to have the pedigree to challenge them for supremacy headed into the day. That perception couldn’t have been more wrong as the Portuguese camp could potentially be in shambles.
Portugal didn’t do themselves any favors and it is hard to believe they are actually as poor as the 4-0 score line handed to them by Germany suggested, but it definitely doesn’t portend a long World Cup run either. Already down 2-0, one of Portugal’s central defenders, Pepe, succumbed to frustration of what he perceived to be a flop from Germany’s Thomas Müller, and lightly head-butted him while he sat on the pitch resulting in a justified red card. Any remaining hope for a comeback from Portugal died at that moment. Preceding the red card, Portugal pushed the ball forward well, but their attacks often fizzled as the Germans made sure to keep Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo closely watched by two men at almost all times, daring another forward to beat them. They could not get it done. [Read more...]