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PORTUGAL - SPAIN

Portugal 3-3 Spain: World Cup 2018 Group B goals, match report

A hat-trick from Ronaldo, a brace from Diego Costa and a cracker from Nacho saw Spain and Portugal play out a world class game at the World Cup in Russia.
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Update:
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his third goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Portugal and Spain at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
ODD ANDERSENAFP

Portugal v Spain: match report

If the World Cup was a powderkeg, Spain and Portugal were the spark it needed to help it explode to life as they played out a thrilling draw in Sochi on Friday night. A sprinkle of Ronaldo magic, a brace from battling Diego Costa and a moment of magic was all it took to really help get this tournament off the ground.

After everything that happened in Spain's camp in the previous week, they could not have gotten off to a worse start as Ronaldo was clipped by Nacho in the box and the Real Madrid attacker converted the penalty, sending David de Gea the wrong way. That was after four minutes as Spain must have felt overcome by negative sensations.

Instead, they knuckled down and started to express themselves the way they had under their former manager, the departed Julen Lopetegui. Diego Costa caught Pepe with an arm across the face before jiving his way into the box and striking low and out of Rui Patricio's reach.

After that, it was all Spain but for one moment when Ronaldo got a clean look at goal. He struck the ball with pace but David de Gea looked like he would deal with it as it rolled to his waiting arms. He couldn't though as it trickled by the Manchester United keeper and Portugal were back in front just before the break.

A spell of three minutes saw Spain retake the lead after some fairly unpersuasive passing around the middle in search of an opening. The first came when Iniesta was fouled and the ball was clipped to the back post. Busquets headed onto Costa, who was waiting in the middle to poke the ball home and poke Spain back into the game. 

Just 180 seconds later and Nacho, who was deputising for the injured Dani Carvajal, sent a laser beam onto the inside of Rui Patricio's post and into the back of the net. Nacho could stay in Fisht Stadium for another 90 days trying to better it and he wouldn't come close, it was such a fine goal.

Spain, having battled their way back into the game, had the momentum even if Portugal were always going to give it one last push. They most certainly did but Spain repelled them at every turn. That was until Ronaldo was fouled with two minutes to go. 

It was now or never, and you never want to put Ronaldo in a situation like that because he sent the ball over the wall and crashing to the back of the net to steal a point for his country.

This was two heavyweights of international football exchanging blows with both feeling like they could down their opponent at any moment. The footballing world was waiting for this game and they got more than they bargained for in the end. A draw, after such excellent fighting back from both sides, is a just result as they look forward now to games against Morocco and Iran in Group B.

Portugal v Spain: live

Portugal v Spain: Teams

Spain starting XI

De Gea, Nacho, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Koke, Silva, Isco, Iniesta, Costa

Portgual starting XI

Rui Patricio, Pepe, Raphael, Fonte, Cédric, Moutinho, Bernardo, William, Fernandes. Ronaldo, Guedes

Portugal v Spain World Cup 2018 Group B: Preview

Spain and Portugal play each other in what is surely the best group game in the World Cup in Russia this summer. They kick-off at 20:00 CEST at Fisht Stadium, Sochi, after plenty of disruption for Spain ahead of the game.

Spain

Spain incredibly sacked their manager, Julen Lopetegui just a couple of days ago and Fernando Hierro took over. Sergio Ramos appeared at a press conference with the new manager and tried his best to put it behind him and the team as he finished almost every sentence with some form of "the sooner we can put this behind us, the better." In terms of teams news, it all depends on what Lopetegui had planned and how much Hierro feels he needs to change. Dani Carvajal has been cleared but won't make the first game and will avoid a juicy match-up against his Real Madrid teammate in Cristiano Ronaldo. Adrian Odriozola will likely take his place and then it's really just a matter of who starts up front with Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno vying for that starting spot.

Portugal

Portugal have had to deal with their own share of turmoil as Sporting Club de Portugal continue their descent into the completely absurd. Six of their players have now rescinded their contracts and could move for free this summer, which means as much as €200 million worth of talent could leave the club for nothing in the coming months including Das Bost, Rui Patricio, Daniel Podence, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes and Gelson Martins. It has rocked Portuguese football but Fernando Santos will be hoping he can and has blocked out the noise in his training camp. Ronaldo was most recently handd a two-year sentence and an €18.8 million fine for tax evasion too, which didn't come at a great time.

However, nothing will take the place of Lopetegui's sacking when it comes to talking points before this one. A win in this and the team that gets it could very well have one foot in the last 16.

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