The Iberian Derby between Portugal and Spain added another layer of drama before the match even started. Ex-Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked by Spain on Wednesday, which was just two days before their opening match. This also came one day after Lopetegui took the role of manager at Real Madrid. Action and drama were also abundant on the pitch as the first high-profile match-up of World Cup 2018 became an instant classic.
CR7 WINS PENALTY EARLY
3’ – Ronaldo drew a quick penalty from a trip by Nacho at the edge of the 18-yard box. He would then step up and easily convert the PK for Portugal. There was a brief pause by the VAR crew to review the penalty call but it was upheld.
DIEGO COSTA EQUALIZES
24’ – Costa received a long ball and three Portugal defenders stood between him and the goal. Costa was able to get a quality shot away and past the Portuguese goalie to level the score at 1-1. There was another quick check of the VAR to see if Costa had committed a foul before receiving the ball, but the goal would stand. It was an excellent individual effort by the Spanish striker.
SPAIN CONTINUES TO PRESSURE PORTUGAL
26’ – Just a few moments later Spain had another great scoring chance when Isco launched a rocket of a shot off the crossbar from about 25 yards out. Goal-line technology showed the ball went straight down onto the goal-line and bounced out. Then about ten minutes later, a great 5-6 pass combination led to an Iniesta shot slipping just wide of the far post.
RONALDO ADDS ANOTHER BEFORE HALFTIME
44’ – Portugal retook the lead about a minute before halftime thanks to Ronaldo and a mistake by the Spanish goalkeeper. Ronaldo collected the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and ripped a low, hard shot at the feet of De Gea. He wasn’t able to get down quick enough to control it and the shot bounced off his hands and into the back of the net.
COSTA EQUALIZES AGAIN
55’ – Spain leveled the game again 2-2 off a perfectly executed free kick. David Silva lofted a free kick outside of the far post, which was headed right to the middle in front of the goal by Nacho to a waiting Costa to drive the ball in from the doorstep.
NACHO STRIKE GIVES SPAIN ITS FIRST LEAD
58’ – Spain took the lead for the first time of the match after a howler of a strike from Nacho. A loose ball bounced out to the feet of Nacho who unleashed a strong half-volley low off the far post and in. It was an incredible shot and an early nominee for goal of the tournament.
RONALDO COMPLETES THE HAT TRICK
88’ – After 30 minutes of Spain dominating possession and controlling the pace, Spain conceded a cheap free-kick 22 yards out in a dangerous spot. Ronaldo took the free kick and perfectly curled it over the wall and into the top right corner past a cemented De Gea to even the match at 3-3. Portugal needed all three goals from Ronaldo to come away with the draw.
The other two matches of the day also decided on late goals. Uruguay took all three points from Egypt with a Gimenez header in the 89th minute for a 1-0 win. Salah was on the bench for Egypt but did not play. He is still resting his shoulder from an injury in the Champions League Final. The second match of the day was decided even later than the first. Iran got the benefit of a Moroccan own goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time for a 1-0 win. It was the latest own goal in regulation time in World Cup history. It was also only Iran’s second World Cup win ever.
Both countries play their second of three group matches on June 20. Portugal (0-0-1) meets with Morocco (0-1-0) at 8:00am EST on FS1. Spain (0-0-1) plays Group B leaders Iran (1-0-0) at 2:00 pm EST on FOX.