By Erik Kirschbaum
June 16 (Reuters) - German media was full of praise on Tuesday for a sterling performance by Joachim Loew's team in their opening 4-0 World Cup win over Portugal that instantly wiped away fears they might have lost their edge.
From the Black Forest in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north, newspapers and commentators expressed awe over the way hat-trick hero Thomas Mueller and his team mates destroyed Portugal - considered their toughest Group G opponents.
"This is going to be our World Cup," wrote Germany's best-selling daily Bild newspaper. "Mueller is already talking about winning it all."
Even though German newspapers are usually critical and tend to look for the fly in the ointment, they could find nothing to complain about with the dominant performance against Portugal.
"Mueller destroys Portugal," read the headline in Die Welt.
The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) said "everything went perfectly against Portugal" and added that everything Loew had wanted to happen had happened.
"Everything Loew planned worked out well," wrote the FAZ. "Everything he wanted worked -- a lot of variety, quick attacks that originate in midfield and overwhelming the opponent with speed and shifting positions."
The paper said Germany had "made Portugal dizzy with the way they played". It added: "This match was the way Loew wants Germany to play soccer, a style that had only succeeded in brief phases so far this year."
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich said the only blemish was an injury to defender Mats Hummels.
"Germany opens its tournament with other-worldly strength," wrote the Sueddeutsche. "The start of the World Cup could not have been any better for the Germany team. Mueller was brilliant with his three goals."
Berlin's Der Tagesspiegel newspaper said Loew deserved credit for the daunting performance.
"Eins, zwei, drei, vier! Germany beats Portugal 4-0 and Joachim Loew did everything right before the match," der Tagesspiegel said. "The injury to Hummels is the only downside but apparently that's not even as serious as first thought."
ARD TV commentator Reinhold Beckmann also got caught up in the euphoria.
"The 4-0 win over Portugal now makes it clear that Germany are among the top favourites to win the tournament alongside Brazil and the Netherlands," said Beckmann.
"Germany showed a lot of courage in the match. But where was the self-appointed superstar named Ronaldo?" (Editing by Ken Ferris)