By Karen Duarte
Rabat – Spain and Portugal tied in their first 2018 World Cup game 3-3 in Sochi’s Fisht stadium on Friday.
With Spain being the 2010 World Champions and Portugal holding the 2016 European Champion title, this was not going to be an easy game.
Portugal began the first half strong, scoring two goals; Spain only scored one.
Three minutes into the game, star Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty kick. Predicting poorly, Spain goalie David de Gea dove to the opposite side, giving Ronaldo a chance to score and lead his team.
Twenty minutes later, Spanish forward Diego Costa beat two Portuguese defenders, striking the ball into the right corner of the goal.
Hungry to score another goal, Spanish forward Isco strikes the ball from outside the box and it unluckily hit the top bar, making the ball bounce right above the goal line. Goal technology called it a “no goal.”
In the 44th minute, Ronaldo powerfully kicked the ball, which bounced off De Gea and entered the net,ending the first half Portugal 2-1.
Starting the second half strong, Spain gained the opportunity to score 2 early goals back to back.
Costa took advantage of a free kick given to Spain by sliding past a Portugal defender and getting his foot on the ball, scoring in the 55th minute.
Wasting no time, Spanish defender Nacho ran down the field and took a shot from the edge of the box, getting the ball behind the net 3 minutes later.
Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a sensational free-kick goal. The ball had enough curve and curl to go overtop Spanish players Pique and Ramos, leaving De Gea with no chance in the 88th minute.
Although Spain dominated the match with 67 percent possession over the ball against 33 percent for Portugal, the match ended with a 3-3 tie.
Spain and Portugal, like Morocco and Iran, are in the World Cup’s Group B. Morocco plays its next game against Portugal Wednesday, June 20.