STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick earns Portugal thrilling draw against Spain

One of the most eagerly anticipated games of the opening days of the ...

Posted: Jun 17, 2018 9:06 AM
Updated: Jun 17, 2018 9:06 AM

One of the most eagerly anticipated games of the opening days of the 2018 World Cup did not disappoint as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick, made history and earned Portugal a draw in an enthralling contest against a Spain side eager to put a tumultuous week behind them.

The Real Madrid star, aiming to lead his country to glory in what is likely to be his final World Cup, scored from a fourth-minute penalty which he himself earned and put Portugal ahead once again after Spain goalkeeper David de Gea carelessly allowed his long-range effort to slip through his fingers.

Portugal 3-3 Spain

Ronaldo scores hat trick

Portuguese scores late freekick to level

But with Spain leading 3-2 thanks to a Diego Costa brace and a superb 30-yard effort from Nacho, Ronaldo stepped up with just minutes remaining to magically curl a freekick into the top corner and pull his country back from the brink of defeat.

It was an astonishing ending and a performance which lit up the tournament.

It should come as no surprise that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, scorer of 43 goals for Real Madrid this season and widely regarded as one of the greatest to have played the game, etched his name into the history books in the process -- becoming the first man to score in eight consecutive major tournaments and only the fourth to score in four separate World Cups.

It was the 51st hat trick in World Cup history -- and the 51st of the forward's glorious career. Aged 33 years and 130 days, the Portuguese is now also the oldest player to score a World Cup hat trick.

In describing his display as his best in a World Cup, Ronaldo told reporters: "I'm happy with the team too because we played well. I think the result was fair in the end."

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said that it was Ronaldo who "carried our team."

"Cristiano has great physical strength but his mental strength is very impressive as well," added Santos.

"He has played at the highest level for a long time now and knows how to handle those moments."

The result puts Group B -- currently topped by Iran who beat Morocco 1-0 earlier Friday -- in the balance, though both reigning European champions Portugal and 2010 World Cup winners Spain will be expected to progress to the knockout stages.

Is Ronaldo the greatest ever? Have your say on our Facebook page.

SCHEDULE: Group games fixture list

READ: Ronaldo and Messi's last chance?

A week like no other for Spain

It had been an eventful week for former champions Spain, one of the World Cup favorites before the Spanish Football Association surprisingly sacked its manager 48 hours before the start of the tournament.

Julen Lopetegui, unbeaten in his 20 games in charge of the Spaniards coming into this tournament, had angered president Luis Rubiales, who had felt "compelled" to dismiss the 51-year-old after finding out mere minutes before the official announcement that the coach would succeed Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid boss.

From his role as director of football, former Spain and Real defender Fernando Hierro moved into the hotseat, claiming that he planned to "change as little as possible" and that his team would "fight for the World Cup."

Describing the atmosphere of a news conference as a funeral on the eve of the competition, captain Sergio Ramos had to remind the media assembled that his team was about to compete in his sport's biggest competition.

Any pessimistic Spanish heart would have sunk further within minutes of this brilliant match starting as Ronaldo scored from the spot, having forced Nacho into a calamitous tackle with a cute stepover.

READ: World Cup in numbers

READ: World Cup is changing the lives of Iranian women

READ: Mystery over empty seats at World Cup game

There was little gloom among Spain's players, however, as they displayed a mastery of the ball for which they are famed and superbly equalized through Costa.

The Atletico Madrid striker raced onto a long ball after a tussle with defender Pepe -- some called for a foul -- and twisted and turned before firing low into the corner for what was his first shot on target at a World Cup.

Portugal -- aiming to become only the fourth country to win the European Championship and World Cup back-to-back -- were always dangerous on the counter-attack and it was a rapid move into opposition territory which ultimately led to their second, giving them possession in the final third.

Ronaldo's low shot shouldn't have led to a goal, but De Gea, regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, allowed the ball to slip from his grasp and momentum swung back Portugal's way.

Spain, however, epitomized the fighting spirit their new manager spoke of in the build up to the match and struck in the 55th minute after a David Silva free-kick allowed Sergio Busquets to head the ball across goal for Costa to tap in from four yards.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features and videos

Three minutes later Nacho struck to make amends for his earlier error only for Ronaldo to steal the show at the Fisht Stadium, taking his tally to 84 goals in 151 internationals and further enhancing his status as one of the finest to ever have played the beautiful game.

How social media reacted

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand was among the millions to tweet their astonishment at Ronaldo's feats on a balmy evening in Sochi.

Toni Kroos, Ronaldo's Real Madrid team mate and Germany midfielder, described the forward as the "best in the world," while AC Milan great Franco Baresi said there were "no words" to describe the 33-year-old's display.

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 35°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 39°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Decatur
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 35°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 31°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 776337

Reported Deaths: 11436
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby873161492
Davidson81556869
Knox46018581
Hamilton40396462
Rutherford38385382
Williamson25282203
Sumner21383315
Montgomery17414213
Out of TN1695094
Wilson16423210
Unassigned15587125
Sullivan14346274
Blount14066181
Bradley12918139
Washington12774234
Maury12220163
Sevier12038163
Putnam10603169
Madison10102228
Robertson8962121
Hamblen8023164
Anderson7991157
Greene7294145
Tipton6948103
Coffee6320115
Dickson6228106
Gibson6188141
Cumberland6106121
Carter5974152
McMinn593191
Roane590796
Bedford5797120
Loudon569665
Jefferson5659119
Lawrence556883
Monroe533190
Warren531475
Hawkins525194
Dyer5237101
Franklin473685
Fayette466971
Obion436595
Rhea415173
Lincoln414062
Cocke399093
Cheatham391244
Marshall391156
Campbell380459
Weakley378959
Giles373896
Henderson361973
Carroll348981
Hardeman338564
White338266
Macon336573
Hardin331063
Lauderdale309242
Henry300975
Marion294144
Scott287644
Wayne287130
Overton284857
Claiborne279768
McNairy267853
DeKalb265549
Hickman265141
Haywood264860
Smith256036
Grainger243146
Trousdale239022
Morgan229738
Fentress229344
Johnson216338
Chester201748
Bledsoe200210
Crockett197247
Unicoi180547
Polk176522
Cannon175029
Union172233
Grundy168630
Lake167826
Sequatchie156027
Decatur153937
Humphreys153721
Benton151039
Lewis147025
Meigs126621
Jackson125234
Stewart123624
Clay107130
Perry103327
Houston102932
Moore94416
Van Buren79520
Pickett74623
Hancock49512

Community Events