Depending on your point of view, Thomas Muller is either a living nightmare or a priceless asset, though there will be no prizes for guessing which category Portugal would put him into following their opening match against Germany at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Muller hit a hat-trick in a 4-0 triumph to leap to the top of the scoring chart and give a clear statement of German intent.
“Thomas Muller’s performance was outstanding,” a grinning Mario Gotze told FIFA.com after the final whistle. “There are certainly worse ways to begin a tournament. Now he’s got three goals. That was very, very important, both for the team and for Thomas himself.
"He’s a top-quality player and we saw that today. He’s clinical in front of goal and can score from nothing. The ability to do that, especially at a World Cup, can be decisive.”
He’s always the life and soul of the party and is unbelievably important to our game.
Muller underlined his value to Joachim Low’s team at the last World Cup, where he scored five and set up three to finish South Africa 2010 with the adidas Golden Boot.
Germany’s No13 was also voted as Budweiser Man of the Match by fans for his superlative display against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. “Scoring three goals in one game is fantastic,” said Muller after receiving the award. “Each goal was better than the previous one. When you go 1-0 up that puts the wind in your sails, and getting the second was a huge advantage, especially in this kind of weather. The game was as good as over when they went down to ten men.”
Yet Muller offers far more to Germany than a just finely-tuned goalscoring instinct; his personality is appreciated just as much within the squad itself.
“Even just in terms of the atmosphere in the team, Thomas is extremely important,” explained goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke. “He laughs out on the pitch and in the changing room before matches, right when the tension is off the scale. We saw again today that he can play and score goals too. He’s always the life and soul of the party and is unbelievably important to our game.”
With Muller setting the tone both on and off the pitch, Germany are already well on course to enjoy a successful campaign in Brazil.