It was a glorious free-kick, curled around the wall and into the corner. That is astonishing. Before the free-kick, he was inhaling and concentrating as if he was about to take a penalty, not a free-kick from 25 yards. His mental strength is off the charts.
Cristiano Ronaldo completes his hat-trick with a wonderful goal!
87 min Pique fouls Ronaldo 25 yards from goal, right in the middle of the pitch. I wonder who’ll take this.
86 min Spain make their last substitution, with Lucas Vazquez replacing the excellent David Silva.2
84 min Portugal are struggling to get the ball, never mind keep it. Ronaldo is getting increasingly frustrated at the imperfections of those around him.
82 min Tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka tiki taka until Aspas mishits a shot through to Patricio from the edge of the box.
81 min Spain have this match under control. Portugal have spent most of the game chasing the ball in fierce heat and they look shattered.
80: SUB! Guedes is replaced by Andre Silva as Portugal make their final change.
79: CHANCE! Soares' pass releases Ronaldo but Pique gets a foot to the ball just ahead of the Real Madrid forward to clear the danger.
PORTUGAL 2-3 SPAIN
77: SUB! There'll be no hat-trick for Costa, who is replaced by Aspas.
76: SHOT! Quaresma gets a shot away with the outside of his boot but the ball sails high over the crossbar.
74: Isco drives to the byline but Soares sticks with him to make an excellent tackle.
71: WIDE! Brilliant play from Spain as Silva plays in Alba on the overlap. The full-back pulls the ball back for Costa, who sweeps the ball wide of the far post.
70: SUB! A change for Spain now as Iniesta is replaced by Thiago.
69: SUB! Another Portugal change as Quaresma replaces Bernardo Silva.
68: SUB! Mario replaces Fernandes for Portugal.
66: Bernardo Silva drives into the penalty area before going to ground. There's no real contact and to be fair no real appeal from Portugal as play continues.
63: CORNER! Moutinho's deep corner is headed back into the danger area by Guedes. However, Fonte cannot get control of the ball as Spain clear their lines.
61: Isco brings the ball away for Spain before drawing a foul from Soares. Free-kick to Spain inside their own half.
GOAL! PORTUGAL 2-3 SPAIN (Nacho, 58)
What a hit! It's redemption for Nacho, who gave away the early penalty which allowed Ronaldo to open the scoring.
What a time to score your first goal for your country. The ball drops to the full-back on the edge of the penalty area and he shows brilliant technique to drill the ball powerfully past Patricio and in off the inside of the post.
Spain take the free-kick srt to Silva, who clips the ball to the back post where busquets is waiting. The Barcelona midfielder heads the ball back across goal where Costa is lying in wait for a tap in! Game on
54: Iniesta shows good feet to get away from Moutinho, who trips the former Barcelona midfielder to hand Spain a free-kick 30 yards from goal.
51: Pass, pass, pass! Spain are keeping the ball well but so far Portugal are keeping their shape nicely. Can they keep it up?
48: Portugal work the ball to Guerreira on the left but his cross is easily cut out by Ramos. Portugal win the ball back through Fernandes, who strikes the ball wide of the target from distance.
46: We are back underway in Sochi...
Isco to score the game's fourth goal and Pepe to be carded - now available at 16/1, while Diego Costa to join Cristiano Ronaldo on a brace is 5/2...
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That brings an end to a captivating half of football. The World Cup has come alive in Sochi! Ronaldo started things off for Portugal before Diego Costa struck back for Spain. You cannot keep Ronaldo out of the game though and De Gea's error handed him a second and Portugal the lead at the break!
It's a horrible, horrible moment for De Gea. Ronaldo gets a shot away from the edge of the penalty area but by the Real Madrid striker's standards it's not his best effort. It's straight at De Gea and it should be a routine save for a goalkeeper of his standards but he lets the ball slip through his hands and into the back of the net.
43: SAVE! Isco slides the ball into the path of Silva, who cuts inside onto his left foot. The Man City star gets a shot away but Patricio makes a comfortable save.
42: OUCH! Costa goes down clutching his ankle after being caught by Pepe. Free-kick to Spain.
39: CORNER! Busquets meets Silva's cross but the Barcelona mane cannot direct his header on target.
PORTUGAL 1-1 SPAIN
37: Guerreiro has time and space on the left flank to get a cross into the box but he puts too much on it and the ball sails out for a goal kick to Spain. He'll be extremely disappointed with that effort.
35: CLOSE! More brilliant football from Spain. Isco's cut back picks out Iniesta, who sweeps the ball inches wide of the far post.
33: Spain are seeing a lot of the ball now but Portugal remain a real threat on the break with the pace of their front three.
31: Spain have come back into the game after going behind very early on. They are in control at the moment and pushing for a second.
28: YELLOW! Bruno Fernandes trips Nacho to earn a caution.
26: NO GOAL! Isco smashes a ferocious shot past Patricio and the ball canons off the underside of the crossbar and down onto the goal line. Isco asks the referee to check if the ball crossed the line but the technology is saying no goal. It's correct too with replays showing the ball to have bounced on the goaline and away from goal. You can't get much closer than that!
Who needs tiki-taka? The goal came from a long ball by Busquets, which Pepe could only head up in the air while being flattened by Costa. From there Costa picked up the loose ball, threw a couple of defenders aside and dragged a fine low shot past Patricio from 18 yards. They went to VAR to see if there was a foul on Pepe, but it wasn’t overturned
Diego Costa scores a brilliant equaliser!
22 min What a chance for Guedes! Portugal broke from the Spain corner and should have made it 2-0. Fernandes on the right curled a brilliant pass around the defence to Ronaldo, who eschewed the expected shot and instead flicked the ball deliciously into the path of Guedes. He should have shot first time but took a touch and was dispossessed vitally by Alba. Ronaldo throws his hands up in
21 min Beautiful play from Iniesta. He scoots into the box from the left, sends a defender off to a different postcode and then eases the ball back to David Silva. His shot is deflected behind for a corner.
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20 min “Three more international goals from Ronaldo and he’ll overtakes Puskas (currently on 84) as the highest scoring European international in history,” notes Mike Gibbons. “He might never catch Ali Daei who has the world record (with 109), but bloody hell.”
It fascinates me that maybe 90 per cent of football fans still think Messi is the best player.
18 min The free-kick is 20 yards from goal, in line with the right edge of the box. Ronaldo batters it into the wall.
17 min Busquets is booked for a lunge at Guedes.
16 min Spain are having all of the ball now, though Portugal – as we saw two years ago – are very well organised defensively. And they know how to break: a beautiful touch from Ronaldo in his own half releases Guedes, who can’t decide whether to go it alone or try too play it back to Ronaldo. In end he does neither.
13 min Spain are starting to look a little sharper, with Isco winning their first corner. Nothing comes of it but the signs are better.2
12 min “Looked to me,” says Dave Ankers, “that Ronaldo was already diving before the contact.”
I thought he made certain of the contact but that it was a foul nonetheless.
11 min An early goal is perfect for Portugal, who can sit and play on the break. Ronaldo, incidentally, has now scored at four World Cups. He’ll make it five in 2022.
10 min Spain’s first chance. Isco’s left-wing cross is knocked down by Costa to Silva, who lashes the bouncing ball over the bar with his right foot. He slipped in the act of shooting, which may be why the finish was unusually imprecise.
9 min Spain look half asleep at the moment. As Andrew Hurley highlighted earlier, there is a real lack of pace in their team.
6 min “I was a big fan of Spain and Spanish football back when they were enthusiastic underachievers, before tiki-taka made them the hipster’s choice (always hated Pep, though, but that’s for another time...),” says Matt Dony. “Now that flush of popularity has passed, I should be able to enjoy supporting them without the self-conscious concern about looking like just another band-wagon jumper. And yet. And yet. I have to be honest, Ramos has just undermined it all in the Champions League final. Not just the Salah incident, it was the whole shebang. The little look before the dive that lead to Mane’s booking was particularly sly. I mean, I know he’s always been the same, but I was able to appreciate his commitment to the ‘dark arts of defending’ (as we’re obligated to describe it) with a cool detachment in the past. It might be the result of being a one-eyed Liverpool fan, but that game was a turning point in the way I see Spanish football. What I’m trying to say is, ‘Go on, Ronaldo.’ I’m throwing my support firmly behind Portugal. Which I’m sure they will greatly appreciate.”
I always think football is better for having a villain who leaves opposition fans foaming with impotent rage. Though I did briefly change this view while flinging all sorts at Vinnie Jones when he celebrated in front of the United fans at Selhurst Park in 1997.
Goodness me, what a start. De Gea tried to put Ronaldo off but it didn’t work. Ronaldo ignored him and slapped a penalty into the right side of the net with De Gea going the wrong way.
GOAL! Portugal 1-0 Spain (Ronaldo 4 pen)
It’s Ronaldo v De Gea - and Ronaldo scores!
De Gea goes the wrong way. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Ronaldo ran at Nacho on the left edge of the box, beating him with a stepover. Nacho dangled a leg absent-mindedly and brought him down.
Ronaldo goes down from the challenge by Nacho. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters
PENALTY TO PORTUGAL!
3 min It’s been a decent start from Portugal, with Carvalho having a lot of touches in midfield - and now they have a penalty!
2 min “Here’s what’s going to happen,” says Olly Wicks. “Spain will win comfortably and cruise to first place in their group. Meanwhile, Egypt will beat Russia and the Saudis and finish second in their group. This means we get a Spain v Egypt last 16 game, in which Salah nutmegs Ramos to score a 95th minute winner and take sweet, sweet revenge. From Olly, a completely unbiased Liverpool fan.”
Imagine if Ramos put him out of the World Cup with a sly suplex.
1 min Peep peep! Spain, in white, kick off. Portugal are in red.
Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos shake hands in the centre circle. It’s time for the first humdinger of Russia 2018.