The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 17, 2014

Germany and U.S. win, Nigeria-Iran play first draw

— RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Germany was supposed to be a team that would melt in Brazil's tropics, and the United States was supposed to be a team that can't beat Ghana.

Both teams flipped the scripts on Monday and find themselves tied atop Group G.

In Salvador, Thomas Mueller scored a hat trick and Germany dominated Portugal — which played with 10 men after a red card in the 37th minute — 4-0, leaving German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a big smile.

Clint Dempsey scored in the first minute and rookie substitute John Brooks scored in the 86th as the U.S. defeated Ghana 2-1 in Natal, with Vice President Joe Biden watching and giving the team a postgame pep talk.

Ghana eliminated the Americans from the last two World Cups.

The two games helped the World Cup continue to deliver lots of goals — 44 in the first 14 games.

Nigeria played Iran in the day's other match, and neither team added to that tally. The teams played the first draw of this World Cup, finishing scoreless. 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 seeded teams — defending champion Spain and Uruguay — were upset earlier. That fate would not befall Germany on Monday.

It was Germans' 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. He 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."

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