World Cup Match Report: Portugal 3 -3 Spain




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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.

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