Jun. 14, 2018
World Cup: Spain vs Portugal...The Game of The Tournament on The Second Day?
With the World Cup in Russia beginning just over 24 hours ago, the home nation began the tournament with a 5-0 demolition job over Saudi Arabia.
The tantalising spectacle of watching the vast array of champions in both sides is definitely a match for all sides & football fans of all nations to pay close attention to.
With this match being played on the second day of the World Cup & just 48 hours after the Spanish side were dealt with a hefty blow with their head coach Julen Lopetegui's sacking, did the Spanish FA possibly unsettle the collectivness of the Spanish dressing room?
A bright start by the Portuguese side saw an early penalty awarded to the 5 time Ballon D'or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. But, as seen with his fine performances in previous matches of such magnitude, Portugal's Captain did not fail to slot the ball past Manchester United's & currently one of the World's best goalkeepers in David De Gea just four minutes into the match.
Aside from The 2010 World Cup winners enjoying numerous yet typical spells of possession as they eased into the match, this Portuguese side played with pace & fearlessness.
Was this early Portuguese display too good to be true?
An elbow to Pepe's face. Strength. Calmness. Quality. The raging bull in Diego Costa was finally let loose as speculation of a foul on Pepe led to the former Chelsea striker taking on three defenders to strike a low driven shot past Rui Patricio to make it 1-1 just 24 minutes into the match.
Real Madrid's number 22 Isco played with a range of fluidity & poise on the left hand side of the pitch to be Spain's best player of the first half. Whilst also providing a stupendous link with left sided midfielder Andreas Iniesta & left back Jordi Alba to cause waves of attacks troubling Portugal's Manchester City midfielder Bernado Silva & Southamptom fullback Cedric Soares.
Hanging on until halftime is exactly what this Portuguese side did.
David De Gea not in use for long periods of the first half led to a dire mistake making the scoreline 2-1 after a weighty, lowly driven left footed shot by none other than Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo at the 44th minute. Making him the 4th player in history to score in four different & consecutive World Cup Tournaments.
The edgy, fox-like manor of Diego Costa came into full force with an easy tap-in to make it 2-2 after Sergio Busquets headed the ball down into the six yard area following a wonderful combination over a Spanish free-kick between Koke & David Silva in the 55th minute.
Redemption in the 58th minute...
Isco & Inieta combine once again with some beautifully crafted attacking football again on the left hand side of the pitch. Resulting in the ball bobbling just outside of the box leading to a superbly timed yet technically perfect finish from Nacho, who conceded the penalty in the first half against Ronaldo, to put Spain 3-2 ahead.
Emotions were running high between both sets of fans with the match drawing to a close.
One watching the game would have thought Spain were cruising to their first win of the group stage, until That Man stepped up again in the 88th minute...
Cristiano Ronaldo once again has shown why he has continued to make the headlines season after season. His usual firm but structured position over the ball with the crowd awaiting the strike of the ball. The detailed run-up to the ball with an awe-inspiring freekick perfectly placed into the top right corner.
With the game ending 3-3 any spectator of the match would have been hoping for the continuation this match into extra time. The Spanish side played with great desire & resilience to come back twice in the game. Regardless of Spain's 67 percent possession, this Portuguese side have carried their fearlessness from the Euro 2016 final into their first World Cup fixture to highlight that defensive performances can be rewarded.
Both sides have definitely set the standard to how matches should be played in despite of any stage in the tournament.
Spectacular. Unstoppable. World Class. CR7 has stolen the show yet again!