Germany 4 Portugal 0: Increasingly desperate Cristiano Ronaldo left high and dry by inept team-mates

The world's best player failed to make much of an impact in his side's World Cup opener

Cristiano Ronaldo has bent everything in world football his way in the last year but an international tournament might be beyond even him.

The best player in the world has, in the last 12 months, hauled himself back beyond old rival Lionel Messi. He won back the Ballon d’Or, five years after he last held it. He won back the European Cup, after a six-year wait. But the one remaining gap in Ronaldo’s glorious haul is with Portugal and on the basis of this evidence they are not close to doing anything about it.

Portugal wilted in the heat of Salvador, putting in one of the worst performances of the World Cup so far. For all the hopes that they might undermine Germany’s challenge at first hurdle, showing up a missed fragility at the heart of Joachim Löw’s side, they were never able to do anything of the sort.

Read more: Match report: Germany 4 Portugal 0
Ronaldo throws shirt into crowd before match
Should Pepe have been sent off?

There were two brief moments, in the first 10 minutes, when it could have been Ronaldo’s day. He played one sharp pass to Hugo Almeida, whose shot was saved by Manuel Neuer, before hitting his own shot from a tight angle at Neuer after Veloso’s pass. It was an even start, a show of intent, which might have unsettled Germany had it lasted slightly longer.

The problem is that football is a team-game and even Cristiano Ronaldo is at the mercy of the quality and application of the other 10 players. He does not need them to be as good as him, he just needs a platform. Unfortunately, the rest of the Paulo Bento’s side could not even give him that.

When Almeida waited too long to play a pass through to Ronaldo – eventually inviting a tackle which forced him off with an injury – Ronaldo made abundantly clear how unimpressed he was, with the helicopter arm-waving he always shows when upset.

 

Teams can recover from imprecision up front, though. The game was lost at the back, where Portugal were dismal and Ronaldo was too far away to do anything about it. Joao Pereira allowed Mario Göetze to wriggle goal-side of him, brought him down and was lucky to stay on the field while Thomas Müller scored the penalty.

The second goal was bad marking from a corner, the third was Bruno Alves being pushed off the ball by Müller and the fourth was Rui Patricio spilling the ball to Müller in the box. It was amateur stuff but Pepe, whose red card made everything so much harder, was inexcusable. Upset by Müller’s reaction to a flailing arm, Pepe thrust his head into Müller’s. It was less malicious than much of what the Honduran players did on Sunday but it was unforgivably stupid from a player who has so much experience at the top end of the game.
Pepe headbutts Muller Pepe headbutts Muller
As the match went on, Ronaldo was left charging around trying desperately to make any impact he could, hoping that even if he could not rescue the situation, he could remind people he was there. He won the ball and won a free-kick, but hit it into the wall. He robbed Götze, darted forward, but hit his shot at Mats Hummels. When referee Milorad Mazic turned down a penalty appeal after Benedikt Howedes tripped Eder, Ronaldo reacted as if he had just been cost the final.
Ronaldo protests to the referee Ronaldo protests to the referee
It was a sad sight, Ronaldo increasingly irrelevant and increasingly desperate when he did get the ball. Deep in added time, a brilliant dipping free-kick was well kept out by Neuer’s dive. There was nothing Ronaldo could do to save his team-mates, and nothing that his team-mates could do for him. When the game was over the captain stormed down the tunnel, while the other players in red huddled in the middle, all of them knowing the gap between him and them is too big.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower