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Ordinarily, you want as many men in the way of a Cristiano Ronaldo strike at goal as possible. However, in the 2014 World Cup, Germany employed the exact opposite tactic when facing down a free-kick from the Portuguese superstar.
Remarkably, the tactic worked to great effect, as Ronaldo still managed to hit the one-man wall, which consisted of Germany's smallest player - and captain - Philipp Lahm.
This incident very much set the tone for the remainder of the match, as Joachim Low's team swept Portugal aside with relative ease in the opening match of Group D.
A Thomas Muller hat-trick and a Mats Hummels header sealed a 4-0 win for Germany, on a day when the star of the show was expected to be Portugal's famous number 7.
As fate would have it, the Manchester United man's greatest contribution to this game was a disastrous freekick, which, as the replays show, went straight at the one-man wall of Lahm.
Throwback to the 2014 World Cup when Portugal had a free kick and Germany made a one man wall of the shortest player on the field, Phillip Lahm, and Ronaldo still managed to hit the wall.- prevail (@Fantastizeey) October 14, 2021
The commentator started laughing after the shot :joy: pic.twitter.com/oDWqfEuj33
Standing at a height of 1.70m, Lahm isn't the biggest of obstacles to avoid, but it did seem as if the tactics temporarily startled Ronaldo.
Whether this was a tactic to try and unsettle the 36-year-old, or just an instruction from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, it certainly paid off.
History shows that Portugal and Germany enjoyed very different tournaments after this moment. While Lahm would go on to lift the World Cup trophy in the Maracana a month later, Ronaldo and Portugal were ditched out at the group stage after failing to beat the U.S.
Defensive issues certainly cost them, but it was generally felt that Ronaldo also underdelivered, given his status as the reigning Ballon d'Or winner.
However, just two years later, the man from Madeira would enact his revenge, by leading his country to a shock European Championship triumph - after beating hosts France in the final.
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