World Cup 2018: Portugal vs Spain - Post Match analysis
The most awaited fixture of 2018 FIFA World Cup took place at the Fisht stadium, Sochi and it lived up to all its expectations as the Iberian rivals played a thrilling 3-3 draw. The star of the match was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who bagged a hat-trick for Portugal. For Spain, it was Diego Costa who scored twice and centre-back Nacho who found the net once.
The match was very evenly played out as the run of play constantly swung between the two sides. It was the first draw of this World Cup but also the most entertaining encounter till now as a total of 6 goals were scored.
Ronaldo steals the show
It's safe to say that this night in Sochi belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo who, prior to this match, had 3 World Cup goals and last night, after this fixture, took his tally to 6 goals, one more than his career rival Lionel Messi, who starts his World Cup campaign tomorrow against Iceland.
The game was off to a flying start as Portugal won a penalty in the 4th minute and Ronaldo successfully scored from the spot. Spain continued their possession style of play with Portugal making several counter-attacks.
In the 24th minute, Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa brought La Roja back into the game as he scored a stunner from the edge of the box after dodging a number of Portuguese defenders.
After equalizing, Spain became dominant and Andres Iniesta came very close to giving his side the lead but his shot went wide off the left post. In the final minutes of the first half, the 33-year-old Real Madrid star scored his and Portugal's second goal following a dreadful error by Spanish keeper David de Gea who failed to stop Ronaldo's shot.
The second half began with Spain enjoying a majority of the possession and it all paid off as Costa once again equalized for Spain in the 55th minute. Just 3 minutes later, Nacho scored a spectacular volley from just outside the box and gave Spain the lead for the very first time.
The game continued with Spain making occasional attacks and it looked as if Spain just might take all 3 points, but it wasn't meant to be as Ronaldo was fouled just outside the box by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and won a free kick which he fired over the wall and into the back of the net.
With this, he also became the oldest player to have scored a World Cup hat-trick. In the dying moments, Portugal made some more attempts to take all 3 points but at the final whistle, the Iberian rivals had to settle for a draw.
Current Group scenario
So after all 4 teams, Iran, Morocco, Portugal and Spain played their first group games, we have an unexpected leader in Group B as Iran sit on top of the table after they won their opening match against Morocco, courtesy a stoppage-time own-goal by Moroccan forward Aziz Bouhaddouz.
Spain will play their next game against Iran and Portugal will go up against Morocco on Wednesday. Iran, who have had an extremely positive start to their World Cup campaign will look to cause an upset in their next two fixtures against heavyweights Spain and Portugal.