Portugal collapse surprises Mueller

Portugal collapse surprises Mueller

Portugal collapse surprises Mueller

Thomas Mueller and his Germany team-mates could hardly believe their eyes when they looked up at the scoreboard early in the first half and saw they were leading Portugal 2-0 in their World Cup opening match on Monday.

The Germany striker had scored the first of his three goals in the 4-0 rout of the team they feared most in Group G and he was soon involved in an incident that all but ended Portugal's hopes of a comeback.

"We looked up and thought 'Hoopla'!" Mueller told Germany's ARD television. "There was still a long match ahead of us and it was really hot in the sun."

Things got even hotter for Mueller a quarter hour later when he got entangled in an incident with Portugal defender Pepe that led to the World Cup's third red card. Mueller said he felt Pepe's fist strike his head as both players tried to head a ball and the big German went crashing to the ground.

Pepe, angry at what he thought was Mueller's exaggerated fall, went over to Mueller on the ground and pushed his head into the German's. Mueller jumped on his feet and the two shouted at each other for a tense moment before being separated. Pepe was sent off.

"I'd like to see it in TV," Mueller said. "I only hope that I looked okay. I felt a blow from his fist. But what happened after that I can't really remember, whether we were head-to-head or not. I just hope it didn't look stupid on TV. I didn't want to cheat," Mueller added. "I don't know for sure how I got out of there."

Mueller, who won the Golden Boot of the 2010 World Cup with five goals in six appearances, said he had not been looking for a clash with Pepe but was not about to back down against the defender either.