World Cup review: Germany lay down early marker

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Tuesday 17 June 2014

World Cup review: Germany lay down early marker

Arsenal trio guide Germany to rout of Portugal while Tim Howard helps USA overcome Ghana

Germany 4-0 Portugal

Five Barclays Premier League players were in action at Salvador as Thomas Muller produced the first hat-trick of World Cup finals to earn Germany an emphatic win over 10-man Portugal on Monday to move to the top of Group G.

A Portugal side featuring Manchester United winger Nani and his former clubmate Cristiano Ronaldo got off to a disappointing start when they conceded a 12th-minute penalty, converted by Muller, and which paved the way for a dominant Germany display.

Shortly after Mats Hummels had headed in Toni Kroos's 32nd-minute corner Pepe was dismissed for a headbutt on Muller, who became only the sixth German to complete a World Cup treble by scoring on the stroke of half-time and again with 12 minutes to go when he put away a parried cross by Chelsea's Andre Schurrle. Three Arsenal players featured for Joachom Low's side, with Mesut Ozil providing the creative thrust, Per Mertesacker helping preserve a clean sheet and Lukas Podolski making an eight-minute cameo after replacing Muller.

BPL players to feature
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal, sub: 62min). Subs: Andre Schurrle (Chelsea, 62), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal, 82).
Nani (Manchester United).

Iran 0-0 Nigeria

A hitherto free-scoring World Cup produced its first draw in 13 matches as Iran and Nigeria shared a Group G stalemate in Curitiba.

The closest either side came to scoring was when Chelsea winger Victor Moses, who spent last season on loan at Liverpool, was just unable to convert Emmanuel Emenike's cross for Nigeria. The Super Eagles tried to boost their firepower in the second half by introducing Shola Ameobi, who this summer ends his long association with Newcastle United, and Stoke City striker Peter Odemwingie, but neither could break the deadlock. Ashkan Dejagah, who played for Fulham in the Barclays Prmier League last season, started for Iran.

BPL players to feature
Nigeria: Victor Moses (Chelsea, on loan at Liverpool last season), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea, on loan at Middlesbrough last season). Subs: Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, 52), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City, 69).

Ghana 1-2 United States

Former Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur forward Clint Dempsey scored the fifth-fastest goal of the World Cup finals to help United States earn a narrow win over Ghana.

Dempsey, who enjoyed a second stint at Fulham on loan from the Seattle Sounders last season, gave Jurgen Klinsmann's side the lead after 29 seconds with a right-footed shot that flew in off a post. Tim Howard had to be on hand to pull off a string of saves from Ghana, including a stinging effort from former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan, while Stoke City's Geoff Cameron starred in the centre of the American defence. But they were beaten with eight minutes remaining when Andre Ayew poked in Gyan's back-heeled pass. There was still time, however, for the US, who lost Black Cats striker Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury, to avenge their defeat by Ghana at the last World Cup and steal the winner, with substitute John Brooks heading in the winning goal in the 86th minute.

BPL players to feature
Christian Atsu (Chelsea, 78).
United States: Tim Howard (Everton), Jozy Altidore (Stoke City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City). Subs not used: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa).

BPL goalscorers at the FIFA 2014 World Cup

2 Van Persie (Netherlands & Man Utd).
1 Oscar (Brazil & Chelsea), Wilfried Bony (Ivory Coast & Swansea City), Daniel Sturridge (England & Liverpool), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica & Arsenal).

* players classified as BPL players are those registered to 2014/15 Premier League clubs until 30 June, 2014, even if they are to be released or are or have been on loan at another club this season.

2014 FIFA World Cup fixtures

17 June (BST)
Belgium v Algeria
8pm Brazil v Mexico
11pm Russia v South Korea

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