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World Cup: Portugal player’s headbutt a gift to the US

by Erik Horne Published: June 16, 2014
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Portugal’s Pepe reacts after being shown a red card by referee Milorad Mazic during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Portugal’s Pepe reacts after being shown a red card by referee Milorad Mazic during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The U.S. just got a gift from Portugal.

In in its opening match of the World Cup group stages on Monday, Portugal central defender Pepe lost his mind and headbutted Germany’s Thomas Muller.

 

 

Pepe (pronounced Peh-pay, not pee pee) was sent off with the red card, meaning he’s forced to miss Portugal’s next match against the U.S. on Sunday. That’s no small deal for the Portuguese or the Americans.

In case you didn't know, Pepe’s kinda known for this stuff.

Pepe’s been classified as a thug of sorts for his hockey enforcer-like play for Real Madrid, but it’s no coincidence that he’s been a regular starter for one of the best club teams in the world. Pepe is a quality defender – an asset for club and country – one that will be missing against a U.S. team that hasn’t exactly been the San Antonio Spurs of world soccer with its scoring.

Who does this help the most? Without Pepe’s bruising presence in the back line for Portugal, expect U.S. forward Jozy Altidore to be licking his chops. Much is expected of Altidore, 24, who has the speed and physicality to give the Portugal defense some problems. He’s also coming off two goals in the U.S.’s final warm up game against Nigeria on June 7, so he shouldn’t be short on confidence.

 

 

Pepe’s red card opened the flood gates for Germany, which went on to an easy 4-0 win. In the process, Portugal also lost starting left back Fabio Coentrao to injury and had its goal differential shredded. It all adds up to an ideal situation for the U.S., which was doubtful to even make it out of the group stage.

by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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