Ronaldo's hat-trick lifts Portugal

16 June, 2018, 18:27 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • FIFA World Cup 2018: FPJ's Dream XI predictions for Portugal and Spain

Hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant late equaliser as Portugal clinched a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain to light up the Fifa World Cup on Saturday (NZ time).

Incredibly, there was more drama to come as Portugal were awarded a free kick - won by Ronaldo - about 20 metres out in the 88th minute.

Spain's showdown with Portugal was expected to be one of the most exciting games of the group stage, and the first half hour of play Friday in Russian Federation was frantic.

Spain held the ball for two-thirds of the match, but ultimately, it didn't have one thing: Ronaldo.

"We have to look to the next match now because our goal is to win", Ronaldo said.

Spain thought they had won the game but Portugal had other ideas as Ronaldo provided the flawless end to another extraordinary night in his career.

Ronaldo stepped up and slotted the ball home to become just the fourth man in history to score goals at four different World Cup finals.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has gone on to become his country's leading scorer with 81 worldwide goals in 150 appearances, but his form in a Portugal shirt has never matched his heroics for Manchester United and Real, and his World Cup scoring record so far is poor with just three goals in three tournaments.

Just 10 minutes of the second half were required for the 2010 winners to get back on level terms for a second time, courtesy of Costa's close-range finish from a Sergio Busquets knockdown at the back post.

"We all have to pull together now, it's a situation that no-one has enjoyed but the World Cup has started, and when it's over that's when we can tell the story, we need to speak as little as possible and focus on football", Pique said. Goncalo Guedes controlled a long ball and squared it for his captain, who had time and space to place a low, powerful shot that inexplicably slid from De Gea's grasp and rolled into the goal.

Goal-line technology came into play a few moments later when a Francisco "Isco" Alarcon's shot struck the crossbar and dropped straight down on the goal line.

Starting the second-half stronger, Spain were level only minutes in; Costa again capitalising on a well-worked move.

The goal was Portugal's first World Cup goal from outside the box since Deco managed the feat against Iran in 2006.

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