Germany reached the World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday by thrashing long-standing rivals England 4-1 in an action-packed game that was marred by controversy after England were denied an equalizing goal.
Mueller, right, helped Germany demolish England with his two goals
Thomas Mueller was the undisputed star of the game after his goals punctuated two quick German counterattacks inside of four minutes in the second half to sink England's hopes of beating Germany at the World Cup for the first time since the 1966 final.
Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski scored the other two goals.
The game was marked by slick attacking from Germany, while England's defense looked shaky from the beginning.
Germany created an early chance after just four minutes when Bastian Schweinsteiger put attacking midfielder Mesut Oezil through for a chance that was blocked by English goalkeeper David James.
The first goal came after 20 minutes when Miroslav Klose took advantage of a goal kick from Manuel Neuer, holding off defender Matthew Upson to put the ball past David James.
The next goal on 32 minutes came after striker Lukas Podolski scored from a narrow angle on the left of the box from a pass by Mueller.
England regained some possession but were unable to take advantage and Germany continued to push forward.
Five minutes later, England defender Matthew Upson rose to a cross from Steven Gerrard, heading the ball into an empty net past Neuer.
England must have thought the gods were against them on the 38 minute mark, as a shot by Frank Lampard rebounded off the crossbar and bounced behind the line. The goal was not given - and television replays showed the ball at least a foot or more behind the line.
Neuer looks at the ball during the goal that England was denied
German television commentator Guenter Netzer said "there weren't too many people in the stadium that didn't see that as a goal."
"It was the most important part of the game," England coach Fabio Capello said of the decision. "We made some mistakes and the referee made one big mistake - but Germany played a good game."
There were no more chances in the first half, and the teams took a curious 2-1 into the dressing rooms.
England started the second half a little better and defender Arne Friedrich was booked early on a foul against England forward Jermain Defoe.
Coach Fabio Capello made a substitution on 64 minutes, bringing on attacking midfielder Joe Cole for James Milner.
Germany scored on 66 minutes when Mueller smashed the ball into the net off David James from a pass by Schweinsteiger to make the score 3-1.
Mueller fired Germany to victory
Only three minutes later, Mueller netted the fourth after poor defending from England and a cross from Mesut Oezil sent him through on goal.
The 20-year-old Mueller was named FIFA man of the match. "Two goals in one World Cup match does not happen too often," Mueller told the Reuters news agency. "But now I want more. I want to score five or six goals here."
Soon after, there was another substitution by England coach Fabio Capello as forward Emile Heskey came on for Defoe and German coach Joachim Loew brought Mueller and Klose off for Piotr Trochowski and Mario Gomez.
England continued to attack, maintaining posession for long periods but seemed unable to make the breakthrough against Germany's defense.
Germany will next play Argentina in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Author: Richard Connor (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar