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Cristiano Ronaldo singlehandedly pulls Portugal back to tie Spain, 3-3

A hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo capped off the game of the 2018 World Cup (so far).

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Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

FINAL SCORE — SPAIN 3 - PORTUGAL 3

Cristiano Ronaldo turned in a truly legendary performance on Friday, willing his team to a result in the World Cup almost singlehandedly. Spain convincingly outplayed Portugal on the night, but Ronaldo scored a hat trick, including an 88th minute free kick to steal a 3-3 draw and keep Portugal’s chances of winning Group B alive.

Portugal led 2-1 at halftime, but Spain completely dominated the second half. Diego Costa added to his first-half strike with an equalizer early in the half, and Nacho followed up with a stunning strike to give his team the lead. But Ronaldo drew a free kick just before the end of time, then placed his shot perfectly from 20 yards.

This result means Group B is wide open. Iran leads with three points, while Morocco only finds itself one point back of the two giants despite a bad result. Portugal and Spain, on one each, will both feel like they can go on to win the group.

Spencer’s final thoughts:

Banger? Spain/Portugal was an absolute banger, said without cynicism even if Portugal was involved. Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick against a team like Spain is arguably the best game he’s played in the tourney. And frankly, even if he’d only scored one, the intensity he played with at every turn was consistently unreal and thrilling.

I do not like Cristiano and never will and even I can’t deny how absolutely boss he was for the entirety of this match. For Spain, there are all kinds of positives, too. They kept Cristiano Ronaldo to three goals, which was an accomplishment based on his pace today, and built some beautiful work through midfield into scoring opportunities.

Diego Costa played like an especially nimble rhino standing on its hind legs, David de Gea probably won’t whiff on another easy stop (?), and Spain in general seemed more than game for getting out of the group even with some very obvious defensive lapses. This was great from start to finish, and we can all blame Pepe for something. Can’t ask anything more from a soccer match.

LIVE BLOG AND HIGHLIGHTS:

Pregame: Hey everyone, we’ve got SB Nation Editor-At-Large Spencer Hall here running our live blog for this match. Let’s. Do. Some. Soccer.


1:52 p.m. ET — Hi, y’all, Spencer here now. Let’s watch together and receive the answer to the most important question in the world: Who is the best soccer team in the Iberian peninsula?


4’ GOAL FOR CRISTIANO RONALDO, PORTUGAL LEADS 1-0

Two and a half minutes into the match and we already have our first extremely dramatic, spring-loaded Ronaldo dive.

Cristiano Ronaldo scoring on a penalty kick he earned with theatrics and Spain is down 0-1. Current Ronaldo shininess: gleaming like a well-polished doorknob.


24’ GOAL FOR SPAIN, DIEGO COSTA DOES IT HIMSELF. 1-1

DIEGO COSTA IS SPANISH FOR “YOU NEED MORE MEN”

Pepe opened the entire sequence of embarrassments for Portugal’s defense by writhing on the ground and exaggerating in order to try and draw a foul. He did get pushed off on the play, but what I really wanted to point out here is that Pepe relied on the cops. NEVER RELY ON THE LAW, PEPE.


26’ — Isco rockets a shot off the crossbar. Aaaaaaaand after 25 minutes of looking relatively toothless Spain has their good teeth in and is ready to eat.


44’ GOAL. IT’S CRISTIANO RONALDO AGAIN AFTER A DAVID DA GEA HOWLER. 2-1 PORTUGAL.

The exact sum of money it would take for me to play goalie in a big international game is somewhere around $40,000,000 and I’m still going to fake an injury in the 28th minute.


HALFTIME — 2-1 PORTUGAL

Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice, with Diego Costa pulling back with an incredible solo effort. But the big talking point is David Da Gea, who needs a hug.


55’ — GOAL FOR SPAIN. IT’S DIEGO COSTA AGAIN, THIS TIME FROM BUSQUETS AND SILVA. 2-2.

We all told Portugal to get more men. DIEGO COSTA IS STILL OUT THERE AND YOU STILL NEED MORE MEN. Never mess with a man who looks like he sleeps on a pillow full of hammers. Don’t ask me what this means exactly, it just applies to Diego Costa and his craggy mug.

It. Just. Does.


58’ — GOAL SPAIN, AND IT’S AN ABSOLUTE BEAUTY FROM NACHO. 3-2 SPAIN. WHAT A GAME.

It’s 2010 up in here all over again with a very, very tiki-taka goal.

The number one song for 2010, coincidentally, was “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha, which is close to tiki-taka and also a reminder that everyone went a little overboard with alternate spellings in the early mobile phone culture era.


88’ GOAL FOR CRISTIANO RONALDO OFF A FREE KICK. HAT TRICK. 3-3. OH MY GOD.

You knew Cristiano Ronaldo was going to hit that free kick the minute he hiked his shorts up to his hips.

The intensity starts with the THIGHS.

Weird that Cristiano Ronaldo is paying Spain back on time.


PREGAME THOUGHTS:

There’s plenty of attacking talent on the pitch for Spain and Portugal in the main event of Day 2 of the World Cup. Spain is playing all of Isco, David Silva and Andres Iniesta together, while Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes join Cristiano Ronaldo up top for Portugal.

Spain lineup

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

Portugal lineup

Rui Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; W.Carvalho, Moutinho, Fernandes; B.Silva, Guedes, Ronaldo


Spain will take on Portugal in a Group B match on Friday. The match will take place at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi at 2 p.m. on FOX and Fox Sports Go.

The last time Spain and Portugal faced each other in the World Cup was in 2010. Spain won that match, 1-0, and would end up winning the World Cup that year. Friday’s match will feature Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Sergio Ramos (Spain) going against each other.

Spain is heading into this tournament through some controversy, having fired its coach two days ago. The Spanish federation didn’t like that Julen Lopetegui announced he’d be taking over at Real Madrid before discussing it with his bosses, so he was let go early. Fernando Hierro, the federation’s sporting director, has taken charge of the team for the World Cup. He faces a stiff test in his first match, as Ronaldo and Co. try to build off their Euro 2016 success and capture a World Cup in what will almost certainly be Ronaldo’s last attempt.

Portugal vs. Spain time, TV channel, and streaming info

Time: 2 p.m. ET

Location: Fisht Stadium, Sochi, Russia

TV: FOX (English), Telemundo (Spanish)

Streaming: Watch the game on Fox Sports Go (English) and Telemundo Deportes en vivo (Spanish) for free if you sign in with your TV provider. It’s also on subscription services like Fubo and Hulu.

Odds: Spain -0.5 (full odds at OddsShark)

For listings from more countries, check out Live Soccer TV.

Key Spain player: Isco

With Andres Iniesta winding down his career, Isco is emerging as La Roja’s top creative force. If you’ve never seen him before, you’re in for a treat — no one turns on the ball quite like Isco Disco.

Key Portugal player: Cristiano Ronaldo

We don’t need to overthink this. Ronaldo might not be at the peak of his physical powers anymore, but he’s still this team’s best player. If Portugal wins this game, it’s probably because Ronaldo played very well. He’s been named the best player in the world five times for good reason.