KEIR RADNEDGE in SALVADOR: No complacency or even false modesty from Germany after the three-times former world champions opened their latest campaign with a 4-0 dismissal of Portugal in the Arena Fonte Nova here.
Thomas Muller, whose hat-trick was a perfect start after his top-scoring ‘arrival’ in South Africa four years ago, encapsulated the mood and determination in words after his achievement in securing the first treble of the finals.
He also denied having provoked Pepe in crucial first-half incident which saw the Portugal defender sent off.
Muller said: “The match went pretty well. We had a couple of opportunities then scored and our second, from a set piece, gave us a comfortable margin. Then we knew it was uphill struggle for Portugal.
“I think we had an excellent match. We feel very focused. Portugal have some capable players and Coentrao could have scored but we could still have won with a higher score. If the gods look favourably on you then everything works out.
“Now we need to focus on the next match. There are no gifts in football.”
Asked about his own Worl Cup goal-gathering, Muller refused to be distracted.
“We want to become world champions,” he said, “and we are not looking at personal records. We need to make sure we make it to the second round and then personal records will follow suit or not.
“In World Cups I’ve had a pretty good run. I cannot expect to score another three goals in the next match – but I’ll certainly try.”
Muller denied that he had provoked Pepe in the first-half incident which saw the Portugal defender sent off for a headbutt.
The Bayern forward said: “I remember his arm struck me in the face and I fell on my back. Then I think he approached me with his head to my head but I cant really recollect the situation.
“The decision was up to the referee; I didn’t want to provoke the red card.”
German coach Joachim Low described Muller as “a very unorthodox player” and praised his “enormous performance.”
Low said: “He has an instinct for creating danger for the opposition and scores from situations where you don’t expect it. He does a lot of diagonal runs which are very difficult for opponents to read or interpret.
“He has one aim: How can I score a goal. That is the only focus he has and makes him so dangerous. In the penalty box he is an innate scorer.”
Just to confirm a job well done, the team were congratulated in the dressingroom after the game by Chancellor Angela Merkel.