Cristiano Ronaldo nets hat trick with brilliant free kick in closing minutes to steal a draw against Spain
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- Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat trick for Portugal on Sunday, helping his country to a hard-fought 3-3 draw against Spain.
- Ronaldo's first two goals were crucial, but his true brilliance showed on his third - a free kick that was put over the wall and out of reach for the opposing keeper.
- With its toughest test of the group stage now behind them, Portugal looks well-positioned to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo started off his 2018 World Cup with a bang on Friday, netting a hat trick for Portugal to force a 3-3 draw against a Spain squad that's one of the favorites to take the tournament.
Ronaldo opened up the scoring early, earning a penalty kick after getting fouled in the box just three minutes into the match. Ronaldo lined up his shot from the spot, and drilled a confident blast into the back of the net to give Portugal a 1-0 lead.
After Diego Costa tied the match at 1-1, Ronaldo would once again give Portugal the advantage just before halftime, striking a shot from just outside the box. While keeper David de Gea was well positioned to make the save, he couldn't get a strong enough hand on the ball, and had to watch as it continued past him into the goal.
But it was Ronaldo's final shot of the night that truly showed his brilliance.
With Portugal trailing 3-2 and the game entering its final minutes, Portugal was awarded a free kick from just outside the box. In the 88th minute, Ronaldo took in the defense, chose his shot, and put the ball where no one could get it.
It's easily the goal of the tournament so far.
With the hat trick, Ronaldo already matched his career World Cup goal total in one match, and made himself an early leader in the race for the Golden Boot. Ronaldo also got a bit of personal vengeance with the performance, having just been fined by Spain for more than $21 million on charges of tax evasion.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, it's also the first time that Ronaldo's team has failed to win in his 51 career games for club and country with a hat trick.
Portugal will likely leave the pitch rather pleased to steal the draw. The point earned leaves them tied for second in Group B, but with matches against Morocco and Iran still to be played before the knockout round, Portugal has already handled their most daunting task of the first stage of the tournament.
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David de Gea is going to want that one back pic.twitter.com/hqjFQtWbOJ- FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 15, 2018
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