Manchester United’s German targets flourish and Kroos showed his Scholes side

by Sam Peoples

Whilst today’s first of three World Cup fixtures was less than kind to former and current reds in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, it was a powerful statement of intent from Joachim Low’s Germany who beat Portugal 4-0, and it featured impressive performances from several players that Manchester United have been consistently linked with.

Mats Hummels
 

 
Commanding performance. Hummels was rarely caught out of position, covered well during Portugal’s spritely opening and was the epitome of focus for the 70 minutes he completed.

Keeping Ronaldo quiet is no mean feat but the Dortmund man seemed to do so with relative ease, matching the current Ballon d’Or holder with a series of crisp tackles and blocks. Also applied a powerful header to Toni Kroos’ corner for the second goal and up until an awkward fall prematurely ended his afternoon through injury, looked superb.

Toni Kroos
 

 
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been a regular fixture in United’s transfer gossip this calendar year and if it wasn’t already clear enough, the 24-year old offered a clear vision of what United have been missing in the heart of their midfield.

He supplied more than a few delicious curling corners for his team from the right hand side, including for Hummels’ goal, curled in a high pass that led to Thomas Muller’s second and played Mesut Ozil clean through the ragged Portuguese defence for what should have been number four just after half time. If he was caught in possession, then he was quickly working hard to win it back. Classy, intelligent performance.

The rest

Thomas Muller’s new contract extension renders any rumoured interest United might have had as utterly pointless, so all that was to be had here were wistful glaces as the Bayern forward grabbed a hat-trick. Bastian Schweinsteiger is the latest German name to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, and if rumours of Pep Guardiola preferring a more mobile midfield mastermind are correct, then a move might not be so impossible. Either way, the German picked up an injury in training and wasn’t risked. On the other side of the pitch, former United target Fabio Coentrao enjoyed a torrid afternoon as part of a defence that conceded four before himself succumbing to an injury that might spell the end of his involvement in the tournament.

Image: Twitter/bordedel

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