Germany turns up heat on Portugal in tropics 

click to enlarge Germany’s Thomas Mueller (13) celebrates with Sami Khedira after scoring his third goal of the Group G match between Germany and Portugal. - NATACHA PISARENKO/AP
  • Natacha Pisarenko/AP
  • Germany’s Thomas Mueller (13) celebrates with Sami Khedira after scoring his third goal of the Group G match between Germany and Portugal.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Germany was supposed to be a team that would melt in Brazil’s tropics.

Instead it was Portugal that felt the heat on Monday in a match in Salvador. Thomas Mueller scored a hat trick, Portugal played with 10 men after a red card in the 37th minute, and German President Angela Merkel wore a big smile following a 4-0 victory in Brazil’s northeast.

The victory put Germany in control of Group G, with the United States facing Ghana Monday night.

The World Cup continued to deliver lots of goals in the first 12 games — 41.

In the 13th game of the tournament, Nigeria and Iran played a scoreless draw — the first draw of this World Cup. Argentina defeated Bosnia 2-1 on Sunday in the other Group F match, and both will feel confident after watching Nigeria and Iran fail to produce.

Two of the seeded teams — defending champion Spain and Uruguay — have been upset. That fate would not befall Germany.

It was German’s 100th World Cup match, and they had it wrapped up by halftime.

Mueller, who led the 2010 World Cup with five goals, scored on either side of Mats Hummels’ headed goal as Germany took a 3-0 lead at the break, and added his third goal in the 81st.

“To score three goals in the World Cup opener against such an opponent is great,” Mueller said.

“After 20 minutes, we looked up at the clock and thought it was going to be a long day,” he added. “But we got into the match very well and when you lead by 2-0 in this heat and then even get the third, it was all over.”

Cristiano Ronaldo started at Arena Fonte Nova despite some nagging injuries. The winner of FIFA’s best player award, he faded after threatening early in the match. He had a shot from a break that Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer blocked, but there was nobody from Portugal to pounce on the rebound.

“We should have used some of our chances better,” Mueller said, suggesting it was hard to play in midday heat and humidity.

It really didn’t show.

The defending Cup of Africa Nations champion, Nigeria will be more disappointed with the draw than Iran. The performances make Argentina and Bosnia the favorites to reach the knockout stage.

Neither Iran nor Nigeria has won a match at the World Cup since 1998.

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