Ronaldo hat-trick steals the show as Portugal and Spain draw classic

It was a forgettable night for Spain’s David de Gea who had just penned a long-term deal with Premier League giants Machester United ahead of the match

Ronaldo hat-trick steals the show as Portugal and Spain draw classic

Portugal´s Cristiano Ronaldo applauds the fans at the end of the match.

It took the Real Madrid forward just three minutes to get on the scoresheet when he was taken down in the penalty box.

David Silva smashed a shot over the crossbar as Spain - who sacked coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament and replaced him with Fernando Hierro - tried to find an immediate response, the Manchester City midfielder then having an effort deflected wide after magical footwork from Andres Iniesta.

Ronaldo became the first Portuguese player (and just the fourth overall) to score at four World Cups and the first player to score in eight successive major tournaments (World Cups and European Championships). The shot's placement was impeccable, as Ronaldo bent the around the wall by putting it inches away from heads of Spain's defender. It could be the key match in the group, with Portugal and Spain both set to be competing for the top spot. "Matches go a certain way and you have to face up to it".

Meanwhile, Spain playmaker Isco echoed Hierro's praise of the team's resiliency, adding they can take nothing for granted this summer.

Heading into the World Cup hosted by Russia, Spain was considered one of the favorites to win the whole thing.

For Ronaldo, widely-regarded as the one of the top two players in the world along with Argentina's Lionel Messi, the competition presents the chance to earn his country its first FIFA World Cup trophy.




Right-back Dani Carvajal has resumed training after suffering a hamstring injury in the Champions League final, but the opener may come to soon for him, with Real Sociedad's Alvaro Odriozola expected to get the nod.

Ronaldo found the back of the net for the second time just before the half, as Spanish goalkeeper David da Gea was unable to control a low line drive off the foot of the 33-year old superstar.

It was an exciting start to one of the group-stage's most anticipated matches and it didn't take long before Ronaldo struck first.

Diego Costa replied twice to get the 2010 champions level, with Nacho's lovely goal having seemingly settled a high-class encounter at the Fisht Stadium. Portugal also played well.

Ronaldo gave his team the lead once again as he scored his second goal in 44th minute.

But Ronaldo stole the show with his third and most decisive goal of the match. "We are a family, we are a team, and we stick together".

The draw leaves the teams poised to battle for supremacy in Group B, where earlier Iran had defeated Morocco, but with the level of football on display at Sochi's Fisht stadium on a tender Friday night, neither side will fear failing to qualify.

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