After all the fall-out, the football. A classic, Portugal manager Fernando Santos had predicted, and he wasn’t far off. Twice Portugal led, twice Spain equalised, and then they took a lead that felt like a liberation, but with just one minute to go Cristiano Ronaldo curled in a wonderful free kick to complete a hat-trick and give a superb night an unexpected ending. For all that other stuff sometimes seems to eclipse the game, for all that it can feel like the garnish has eaten the steak, to use the words of one Spanish coach, the game fights back. Football tends to find a way.
Here, Spain found a way. Ronaldo certainly did. Portugal almost got a winner, too, right at the death – twice, in fact – but that would have been harsh on Spain. After the days they have had, it might have hurt them too. And yet here there was little sign of that. Perhaps it was simple: perhaps recovery was always most likely to come here, with the opportunity to get back to what they know: playing football very, very well. They might have lost their manager two days before the World Cup but Spain are still Spain.
Written by Sid Lowe at the Fisht Stadium
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/15/spain-portugal-world-cup-group-b-match-report under the title “Cristiano Ronaldo hits hat-trick as Portugal deny Spain in six-goal thriller”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.