Most USA fans probably didn’t care much about what else happened at the World Cup yesterday besides Clint Dempsey and John Anthony Brooks’s goals to help the U.S. beat Ghana for the first time in three World Cups (the United States had previously lost to Ghana in both 2006 and 2010). However, in a match between the United States’ next opponent, Portugal, and Germany, the famously hotheaded Pepe, playing for Portugal, let his temper get the best of him and headbutted Germany’s Thomas Muller. Pepe was given a red card and ejected from the game.
The incident between the two players started around the 37th minute of play, as Muller and Pepe both ran to chase down the ball, and Pepe’s hand connected right with Muller’s face. Muller sat on the ground, holding his jaw, which made Pepe apparently think that he was feigning his injury. Instead of simply trash-talking, or you know, being the bigger man and letting the injured player deal with his actual injury, Pepe bent down and rammed his head right into Muller’s. (Check out footage of Pepe’s headbutt at the bottom of the article.) The referee who saw this immediately gave Pepe a red card for his behavior.
The loss of Pepe forced Portugal, who was already losing to Germany 2-0 at this point, to play with only 10 men for the remainder of the game. Before halftime, Muller scored Germany’s third goal (his second of the game). Later, in the 78th minute, Muller scored his third goal of the game, giving him a hat trick and helping Germany to a 4-0 defeat of Portugal.
While Pepe’s actions clearly affected Portugal’s match with Germany, the consequences do not end here. Pepe is also suspended for Portugal’s next match, which is against the United States. His absence greatly weakens Portugal’s backline.
After their hard fought win against Ghana and now with this news coming out, you’ve got to like the United States’ chances to make it to the Round of 16.
Photo via YouTube