Ronaldo scores hat-trick in Spain thriller

Ronaldo scores hat-trick in Spain thriller

Carla Harmon
June 16, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring one of his three goals.

The Portugal superstar scored a hat trick Friday in his team's thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain in World Cup Group B play.

Ronaldo won a penalty in just the third minute when his quick stepover caught out Real Madrid teammate Nacho, whose clumsy lunge clipped him just inside the box.

Spain had showed they were unaffected by the sacking of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the competition as they twice came from behind to lead 3-2.

Although De Gea attempted to distract Ronaldo before the former Manchester United man took the spot-kick, he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make yet more history, becoming the first player to score in eight consecutive global tournaments.

Ronaldo was never going to let anyone else take the spot-kick and immediately took possession of the ball inside the Olympic Stadium.

It was typical of the now 33-year-old to take the headlines after news from the Spain camp had dominated the build-up to this game.

One of the most highly-anticipated games of the tournament, it scarcely failed to deliver.

Lopetegui was unbeaten in 20 worldwide games in charge of the national team, so his new replacement Fernando Hierro has big shoes to fill with a very short amount of time to prepare his squad for the match.

"It's a nice personal record to have, one more in my career", said Ronaldo, before adding: "For me the most important thing is to emphasise what the team did against one of the favourites to win this World Cup". "We've come back and equalized twice, we feel great commitment and pride".

The second was an ugly bobble on a grounder by Spanish keeper David de Gea that gave Portugal a 2-1 lead heading into the half. Hierro has a choice of Diego Costa, Rodrigo and Iago Aspas, with the former's experience at the highest level perhaps putting him in pole position. Ronaldo did not feature in any of Portugal's pre-tournament friendlies, but will no doubt, be a part of Fernando Santos' starting line-up on Friday. I am happy with the way the team reacted, we deserved more but football is like that, this can happen to you.

The reigning European Champions, Portugal, is scheduled to face Morocco on June 20 in Moscow, while Spain will play against Iran on the same day in Kazan. First Diego Costa scored a poacher's goal off a set piece, before Nacho struck a bouncing ball perfectly for an outside-spinning volley that hit the post before rolling in.

"We've had very little time before our opening match, so I really wish to express my heartfelt thanks for their commitment".

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