(Xinhua) -- Cristiano Ronaldo scored a
hat-trick as Portugal and Spain drew a thrilling World Cup Group
B game 3-3 in Sochi on Friday night.
goal was a spectacular free kick, just when it looked as if two
goals from Diego Costa and a volley from Nacho Fernandez would
give Spain a winning start to their World Cup campaign, just two
days after Fernando Hierro replaced Julen Lopetegui as coach.
Despite Ronaldo’s late goal the Spanish can take heart that
the change of coach doesn’t appear to have had any negative
effects on their play and both sides look much stronger than
both Iran and Morocco, who played each other in Group B earlier
in the day.
New Spain coach Fernando Hierro decided to play Costa in
attack, while Koke partnered Sergio Busquets in midfield and
Nacho Fernandez was given the task of stopping his Real Madrid
clubmate, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal meanwhile fielded an attacking line up with Ronaldo,
Goncalo Guedes and Bernardo Silva in the starting 11.
The game was only 4 minutes old when Ronaldo scored from the
penalty spot after drawing a foul from Nacho, though TV replays
implied it was the Portuguese striker who had looked for the
Spain began to dominate possession but failed to turn that
into chances until the 23rd minute when Costa won a high ball,
twisted and turned and then beat Rui Patricio with a low shot.
A minute later Isco hit the bar from 25 yards and Spain were
clearly on top, with their mobile midfield quintet causing
Portugal problems with their pace and mobility as Iniesta shot
just wide in the 35th minute.
However, on the stroke of halftime a dreadful error from
Spain keeper David de Gea allowed Ronaldo to put Portugal back
in front with a left foot shot from outside of the penalty area,
which the keeper should have easily saved.
The second half began with a similar pattern to the first
with Spain dominating possession and they were level 10 minutes
after the break after Sergio Busquets nodded a Silva free kick
across goal for Costa to score his second of the night from
Three minutes later Spain were ahead when Nacho’s volley from
outside the area went in off the post and in the 69th minute
Thiago Alcantara replaced Iniesta, moments before Costa fired
wide from a low Jordi Alba cross as Spain continued to move the
Portugal substitute Ricardo Quaresma hit a shot over the
Spain bar and a run from Ronaldo had De Gea struggling as he
came off his line, but Spain looked as if they were going to
hold on until Ronaldo produced a moment of magic with an 87th
minute free kick which left De Gea rooted to the spot.