Cristiano Ronaldo Spoils Spain’s Party With A World-Class Free-Kick To End Game 3-3

It was a night Cristiano Ronaldo designed and decorated. The Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar scored a hat-trick as Spain and Portugal shared honours in the World Cup’s fourth game at the Fisht Stadium.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 4th minute of affairs after he was brought down in the box by Real Madrid teammate Nacho Fernandez. Referee from Italy Gianlucca Rocchi immediately pointed to the spot.

However, Sapin were not to undone by going down early. The midfield combination of Iniesta, Isco and David Silva drew ring around Portugal. The lion’s share paid off in the 24th minute when Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa scored a characteristic goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo in battle with Spain defender Nacho. Photo credit: ESPN

After shrugging off a challenge from Portugal defender Pepe, Costa got himself into the box and fired past Rui Patricio. Spain continued to keep possession, only allowing the Portugal frontline of Ronaldo, Guedes and Bernardo Silva crumbs of the ball.

Spain were then punished in the 44th minute after an embarrassing howler from Man United keeper David De Gea. Ronaldo latched onto a pass from Guedes about 22 yards out of the Spanish goal and fired. But what should have been a comfortable save for De Gea actually saw the ball bouncing off a knew and then past the keeper. Half time was soon to come.

Spain kept the pressure after the recess. The sheer physicality of Diego Costa and the trickery of Isco and David Silva were clearly alittle too much for Portugal. In the 55th minute Sergio Busquets set up Costa to make it 2-2.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Diego Costa was excellent bully of Portugal’s defenders on the night. Photo credit: FIFA via Getty Images

Incursion after incursion from Spain did not yield results. Portugal had Joao Mario and Quaresma on for Fernandes and Silva respectively.

Spain threw on Alcantara, Aspas and Real winger Vazquez. But just when it seemed like the story was written, a long ball from the Portuese half found Ronaldo. The striker whose back was turned to the Spanish goal was fouled by Gerard Pique. Referee whistled for a foul about 30 yards out of goal.

Only one man was going to take for Portugal as Ronaldo stood over the ball. He did his signature steps back and heavy breaths out and his was firmly on goal. Somehow, everyone knew it.

Ronaldo curled an unstoppable shot past the human wall and straight into the net. De Gea was scrambling to no good. Ronaldo is now the fourth player to have scored in four World Cups after Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Pele. The Portugal captain is also the second after Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan to have scored in 8 consecutive tournaments.

Earlier in the day, Iran beat Morocco by a lone goal. This means that the Middle Easterners are top of Group B with Sapin and Portugal having one point apiece. Morocco is last.

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