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World Cup 2014 - Day 5 Review

Germany dominates Portugal, Iran and Nigeria play to a goalless draw, and the United States grabs a late winner over Ghana.

John Anthony Brooks looks as surprised as the rest of us after scoring the game-winner against Ghana.
John Anthony Brooks looks as surprised as the rest of us after scoring the game-winner against Ghana.
Laurence Griffiths

Germany 4 - Portugal 0

Germany affirmed their World Cup favorite credentials by destroying Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. Thomas Muller scored a hat-trick, and was at the center of an altercation that may define Group G. Muller fell and rolled on the ground after exaggerating a harmless stray hand to the face from Pepe. The Portugese center back, frustrated by Muller's antics, bent over the German attacker, yelling in his face and ultimately headbutting Muller.

Serbian match official Milorad Mazic was left no choice, sending off the Real Madrid defender. Germany, already up 2-0 at that point, tacked on a third just before half, and the Germans coasted through the second half.

Portugal will be without Pepe for their match against the United States in Manaus on Sunday, and may miss Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida through injury as well.

Iran 0 - Nigeria 0

If we were to pick a match in the first round of group stage matches to be a somewhat lifeless 0-0 draw, this would probably be it.

United States 2 - Ghana 1

When Clint Dempsey scored 30 seconds in, Uncle Sam's Army might have hoped that things would be straightforward. In the end, it was far from simple.

Jozy Altidore was forced off halfway through the first half with a hamstring injury, and the United States was outplayed through most of the first half, though Ghana failed to create any legitimate scoring chances.

Defender Matt Besler had to leave at halftime due to injury as well, bringing in inexperienced John Anthony Brooks, making only his fifth appearance with the national team.

Many were surprised when both Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien were left out of the Ghanaian starting XI, but their insertion off the bench in the second half helped give the Ghanaian attack bite, and Andre Ayew got Ghana on the board in the 82nd minute.

But Brooks, who was not expected to see the pitch at all this tournament, who endured a nightmare of a match in a friendly against Ukraine, who missed time with his club this season because of discomfort caused by a back tattoo, somehow became the hero in the 86th minute. Fellow substitute Graham Zusi whipped in a corner resulting from a rare American attack, and the six foot, four inch 21-year-old powered home the header that ultimately won the match.