Portugal hold Spain in instant World Cup classic with Cristiano Ronaldo sensational hat-trick scores

“The night was about Cristiano. He is relentless in his pursuit of greatness. What he is doing on the world stage is ridiculous.”Match of the Day pundit Rio Ferdinand said he “couldn’t breathe” as former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including an 88th-minute equaliser, as Portugal drew 3-3 with Spain in a classic World Cup encounter. Ronaldo, as he so often does, had the last word in a match full of drama, as Spain came within minutes of securing a happy ending to a turbulent week in which they sacked their manager a day before the start of the tournament.

So just how good was this Ronaldo display? Well, his was the star turn in a match that is sure to be remembered for years to come.”I’m going to get a flight back tomorrow because I won’t see a better game,” joked former England winger Chris Waddle. All World Cup finals need great players to do great things and there are few who intervene more consistently at the crossroads of the game’s history than Cristiano Ronaldo, king of the big stage and all that happens on it. Just a hat-trick to declare in this, his 151st cap for Portugal against the great Spain generation of the 21st century, including a third from a free-kick which was one of those moments when he insists that the world stops what it is doing to watch. He hitched up his shorts, shut his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath and then clipped a right-foot shot around the wall so accurately that David de Gea did not even spring for it. This was a World Cup game for all the ages and if Russia 2018 had so far been about narrow margins and small nations overachieving, then this was the deluxe edition featuring two great sides and ultimately one historical footballer.

These were Ronaldo’s 82nd, 83rd and 84th goals of a golden international career over which his game has changed but his contribution has always been immense to Portugal, a better team now than the Euro 2016 winners, but still trying to keep pace with their star man. At 33, Ronaldo can no longer do as much as he would like in games so he just sticks to doing the most important things. No side know him better than Spain, no defence have more experience of playing with and against him, and yet Ronaldo locates vulnerability wherever he goes and against whoever he plays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *