If there was one thing that the thrilling draw between Portugal and Spain showed us, it was that the World Cup was finally here. The matches prior to this marquee game were a bit dull (cue Morocco vs Iran) and lacking in the wow factor.
The 3-3 draw, however, was a riveting game that saw a stalemate between the collective Spanish unit and Cristiano Ronaldo’s awe-inspiring brilliance.
The game began on the wrong foot for Spain as they conceded a penalty in the opening three minutes. Nacho Fernandez mindlessly tripped Ronaldo inside the box and the Real Madrid star man went to the spot. CR7 converted to give Portugal the lead.
The one-goal advantage lasted for about 20 minutes as Diego Costa levelled the scores in the 24th minute. The former Chelsea frontman bullied the Portuguese defense before stroking a well-placed shot pas Rui Patricio. There was some controversy over the build-up as it looked like Pepe was fouled by Costa. VAR was consulted, and the goal stood.
Portugal regained the lead via one of the most unexpected sources. Cristiano Ronaldo got the ball at the edge of the box and took a shot directed straight at David De Gea. In an inexplicable moment, De Gea fluffed his lines and the ball ended up in the net. To see such a Karius-esque error from De Gea was bewildering, to say the least.
On the other side of the half, Spain came out strong. Diego Costa scored his second goal 10 minutes into the second half, diverting Sergio Busquets’ expertly headed pass into the net. This match was a trial by fire for Costa and he seems to have solidified his place in the team with this brace.
The Spaniards charged to a 3-2 lead three minutes later as Nacho scored a goal with an exquisite volley from the edge of the box. After the Spaniards did well to reclaim the ball inside Portugal’s box, Nacho latched on to the loose ball to send a blistering shot past Rui Patricio.
Spain looked to be set for a win until Portugal received a free-kick on the edge of the Spanish box in the 88th minute. Up stepped Ronaldo, the all-star talisman. He stood in his trademark pose, ran up and took the shot. The ball floated in the air and ended up inside the goal, with De Gea rooted to his spot. The star man stepped up with a magnificent performance.