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Portugal blame the referee for 4-0 beating

But in Portugal they ask people to stop the obsession with Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal could not prevent the Germans from earning a humiliating 4-0 win in their first World Cup match. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

First Spain and now Portugal - the city of Salvador clearly has it in for Iberian football at this World Cup.

As did, if one was to believe the Portuguese players after their 4-0 hammering at the hands of Germany, referee Milorad Mazic.

Football’s most reliable pantomime villain Pepe left the Novo Fonte stadium refusing to speak to reporters after his early red card. “Talk to the ref instead,” he advised. “If the officials had not erred, the game would have turned out differently,” opined Ricardo Costa.

But back in Portugal today’s newspapers are less certain about where blame lies for the country’s worst ever World Cup defeat. “The ref didn’t help? No, he didn’t. And the team even less so,” wrote Publico’s Hugo Daniel Sousa.

“To concentrate on the performance of the referee is half way there to a new defeat,” he warned.

Instead Sousa rounded on the players for their obsession with Cristiano Ronaldo to the detriment of any attempt at team play.

“Having one of the best players in the world can and should be an advantage,” he observed. “It is even natural that we ask that he appear at decisive moments. But what cannot happen is that his team mates justify the jokes that Portugal’s tactics amount to passing to Ronaldo and hoping he scores.”

For Ronaldo, the player who was both cheered and booed the most during the game, there was both humiliation and sympathy. Argentina’s Olé published a picture of him with a pained expression on his face and a speech bubble asking: “Can I change team?”

But over at La Nacion, Juan Pablo Varsky observed that he had no help from his companions on the field.

“It gave you the desire to see him wearing white as the game entered its decorative final period and to see Müller wearing red so that he could experiment with the sadness of playing without colleagues… One star does not make a team.”

Meanwhile local organisers admitted to the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that they totally underestimated the number of Argentine fans who would show up for Sunday’s game in Rio’s Maracanã stadium against Bosnia.

The original estimate was for 10,000 but up to 50,000 are now believed to have made the trip. Many of them were without tickets but managed to penetrate the poorly policed security cordon around the ground, with some of these managing to force their way in.

On Monday Brazil’s tourism ministry said it expected 600,000 thousands foreigners to visit the country for the tournament with over three million Brazilians making at least one domestic trip during the month for the football.

According to Fifa 1,395,886 tickets have been sold in Brazil. The largest number sold abroad was 198,208 in the US, followed by 61,477 in Argentina. Fans in England bought the fifth highest amount - 58,105 tickets, just behind sales in Germany.

After fears during the build-up about the ability of the country’s air transport network to handle the volume of people taking flights, Brazil’s civil aviation authorities said the average number of delayed flights so far during the tournament is just 6.5 per cent, with Monday the single worst day so far - seeing nine per cent of flights delayed.