THE bright sun in Salvador would illuminate a truth about the German national team:

they don't half know how to get going in a World Cup. In each of their opening fixtures in the competition this millennium, they have scored at least four goals - with Saudi Arabia conceding eight in 2002, Costa Rica just the four in 2006, while Australia lost 4-0 in 2010.

And Portugal shipped four goals just last night. These were spread out over the course of a comfortable evening for the Germans - Thomas Mueller waited until the 78th minute before completing his hat trick - but had the effect of leaving their group rivals feeling very far from home all of a sudden.

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Mueller struck first from a penalty after just 12 minutes when Mario Goetze was pulled back in the box, with defender Mats Hummels able to double their lead from a corner 20 minutes later. Many among this Portugal side looked agape.

Cristiano Ronaldo stood in the centre circle, surrounded by thousands but utterly alone. The forward often revels in being a nonpareil footballer for his country but just this once he appeared to search for someone in the same shirt to help share the burden.

Nani skimmed the crossbar with one shot, before Pepe also tried to upset the confident Germans. Unfortunately this involved butting at Mueller after the midfielder was brought down - with the referee showing the Real Madrid defender a red card.

Germany seemed hardly to notice at all. A fourth goal was added by Mueller - who won the Golden Boot four years ago when he scored five times in South Africa - when a low cross from Andre Schurrle was parried back into the penalty area by Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio. More specifically it rolled towards Mueller's instep and he pushed it into an empty net.

A thunderous free-kick from Ronaldo acted as a belated challenge to such dominance, although many seemed too busy basking in the glow of another fine opening day.