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Joachim hints at changes

Thomas Mueller

Salvador: Germany coach Joachim Loew showered praise on make-shift striker Thomas Mueller after his hat-trick in the 4-0 rout of Portugal at the World Cup, then hinted at making changes.

Germany became the first country to reach the milestone of 100 World Cup matches and marked the occasion by thumping Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal.

Mueller bagged the Germans’ seventh World Cup hat-trick in total -- more than any other nation -- with Argentina second on four. “Thomas did really well up front, and he constantly tore holes in the defence,” enthused Loew after the Group G clash.

“He is a very unorthodox player and you can’t really predict his lines of running, but he has one aim and that is ‘how can I score a goal?’ That makes him so dangerous, especially in the box,” the coach said.

A decisive first-half saw Germany race into a 3-0 lead in Salvador, as Mueller converted a penalty, then fired home their third on the stroke of half-time after Mats Hummels scored with a header.

Mueller, who normally plays as a winger or attacking midfielder for Bayern Munich, completed his hat-trick in the dying stages, as Ronaldo endured an afternoon which he would want to forget in a hurry.

“The whole team played incredibly compact football and hardly gave any chances for counter-attacks,” added Loew. “When we went 3-0 up, it was important to hold the ball and play economically. Jerome Boateng did really well against Ronaldo,” he said.

Ghana await Germany next in Fortaleza on June 21 and with high temperatures expected for the 4pm (local time) kick off, Loew says changes may come.

Hummels has an injury concern after being helped off with a thigh problem and Loew has said he will weigh up his options over the next few days. “We will now look at the team set up,” said Loew. “Ghana has an incredible physique, they are very robust, with very fast players. The heat will demand a lot of us. Mats Hummels had a knock to the thigh, but I assume that it wasn’t too serious.”

Hummels and Jerome Boateng were taken to a local hospital — instead of training — on Tuesday for examinations to injuries suffered on Monday.

“Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have gone to have x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging done to find out exactly what the nature of their injuries are,” a team spokesman said at the training session. “The object of that is to find out exactly what happened.”

Mueller said that he and his team mates could hardly believe their eyes when they looked up at the scoreboard early in the first half and saw they were leading Portugal 2-0.

The Germany striker had by then scored the first of his three goals in the 4-0 rout of the team they feared most in Group G, and he was soon involved in an incident that all but ended Portugal’s hopes of a comeback.

“We looked up and thought ‘Hoopla!’. There was still a long match ahead of us and it was really hot in the sun,” he said.