WORLD CUP 2018: Portugal Vs Spain, Match 4, LIVE

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The stage is set for the biggest match of the group stage round. It's PORTUGAL vs SPAIN

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Updated On:

Absolutely exceptional match! This was billed as the best match of the tournament, and it proved it! Ronaldo took the centre stage with the hat-trick, but for most parts, it looked Spain were the likely winners.

Ronaldo's 4th minute penalty was canceled out by Diego Costa's opener. But on the stroke of half time, Ronaldo scored his second, gave Portugal 2-1 lead.

In the second half, Spain were the much better team, and were dominating possession. They scored two goals within three minutes to take a 3-2 lead. Costa equalized from a routine free-kick, before Nacho scored an absolute stunner. But Ronaldo had the last laugh, as he scored a sublime free kick in the 87th minute to salvage a point for his team. 

FULL TIME: Portugal 3-3 Spain

90' + 2': Chance for Ronaldo, but he heads it wide. Quaresma puts in a cross from the left, but the Portugese captain fails to connect. 

90' + 1': Four minutes added on. And Portugal have a corner! 

87': GOAL! What a free-kick from Ronaldo. De Gea can just stand and watch. Hat-trick for the genius. Portugal 3-3 Spain

86': And it indeed is Silva. The Manchester City man ends his shift, and will be replaced by the Real Madrid winger. FREE KICK FOR PORTUGAL! Ronaldo is fouled by Pique at the edge of the area.

85': Lucas Vazquez ready to come in as the final change for Spain. He is expected to replace Silva.

82': Spain are playing around Portugal as if it's a training regime. They are stringing passes together, and not letting the opposition come near them.

80': Another change for Portugal, their final. Striker Andre Silva comes in for Guedes. 

77': Two-goal hero Diego Costa leaves the field, with applause from the fans. Iago Aspas comes in for him.

75': Brilliant bit of skill from Thiago to turn defense into attack, but the ball is back with the Portugese.

73': Spain are at their best again. They keep the ball, pass it from one side to another, and frustrate Portugal. 

71': Brilliant move by Spain, but Costa can't apply the finishing touch. Spain move the ball in the midfield, and find Alba free on the left side. He cut backs the ball for Costa, but his shot is wide.

69': Both the teams make their change. Quaresma comes in for Silva, whereas for Spain, Thiago comes for Iniesta. And the crowd gives an ovation for the former Barcelona midfielder.

68': Portugal make the substitution, and now Spain are ready to make theirs. Thiago is ready to come on.

66': Mario has to wait, as the ball is yet to go out. In between, Portugal keep the ball, but are unable to create a chance.

64': Portugal are preparing a change as they look to recover from the shock. Joao Mario is ready to come in, presumably in place of Bruno Fernandes.

62': And now Spain are showing sensibility, trying to slow down the play. But Ramos concedes a corner after a rash clearance.

58': GOAL! A stunner by Nacho gives Spain the lead. The Portugese defense is unable to clear the ball, and it lands to the right-back, who hits a thunderous volley into the back of the net.

55': GOAL! The free kick is put in the box by Silva, which is headed back across the goal by Sergio Busquets. Costa is there to tap it in. Portugal 2-2 Spain.

54': Free-kick for Spain from 30 yards out, after some quick feet from Iniesta. Silva is over it, though, doesn't seem he will take an effort on goal.

51': Pass and pass and pass and pass. That's what Spain are doing, hoping to catch the Portugese defense off guard with a killer pass.

49': Bruno Fernandes has an effort from 30 yards out, but its well wide. It all stems from Iniesta losing possession in his own half.

47': Spain have the early possession in the half, but nothing threatening so far. Silva is caught offside as they try to penetrate the Portugese defence.

Portugal get the second half underway!

Players have come back to the field!

What a first half, phew! Ronaldo gave Portugal the best possible start, scoring within the first four minutes. But Spain hit back, and equalized through a solo effort from Diego Costa. Soon after, Isco hit the bar as the 2010 Champions dominated the match.

But in the 44th minute, a howler from de Gea allowed Ronaldo to score his second goal. An uphill task awaits for Spain in the second half.

Half time: Portugal 2-1 Spain

44': GOAL! Ronaldo has an effort from the egde of the box, which should be easily saved by de Gea. But the Manchester United goalkeeper makes a mess of it, and allows Portugal to take the lead. It's all against the run of play.

42': Effort from Isco with his left foot from the edge of the area, but its a comfortable save for Rui Patricio.

41': After a brief spell of possession for Portugal, the ball is back with the Spanish team. 

39': Silva swings the ball into the box, but Busquets, under some pressure, heads the ball way over.

38': Corner for Spain, conceded by Pepe. Alba on the Spain's left is looking a huge threat.

37': Ronaldo looks absolutely frustrated now. After the first 15 minutes, he has failed to receive the ball, with his team playing more long balls now.

35': Spain absolutely at their best now. They string numerous passes together, before the ball falls to the feet of Iniesta in the Portugese box. His shot is just wide of the post.

32': It's all Spain now in terms of possession. Portugal can't seem to get the ball, as Spain are doing what they know the best - keep the ball.

30': Poor effort from the Manchester City midfielder, hitting at straight at the wall. Portugal need to regroup now, because they are being dominated!

28': Free kick for Spain in a dangerous position, after Bruno Fernandes caught Nacho very hard. YELLOW FOR BRUNO! Silva to take it.

26': OFF THE BAR! What an effort from Isco, but the ball hits the bar and bounces back. Spain are dominating now!

24': GOAL! Diego Costa equalizes for Spain after a brilliant solo effort. He was against four Portugese defender, but managed to fool everyone and score. Game on!

22': From the Spanish corner, Portugal break, and are 3 on 2 in the attack. Ronaldo passes to Guedes, but the youngster fluffs his lines.

21': Corner for Spain. Some neat play down the left side gets Iniesta free in the box. His cuts it back to Silva, whose shot is deflected for a corner

20': Spain just haven't been up for it till now. They have passed the ball around, but aren't able to find the killer move. Costa looks devoid of options.

18': YELLOW FOR BUSQUETS! The holding midfielder is cautioned after he loses the ball near his penalty box, and fouls. Ronaldo to take it, but it hits the wall! Free-kick was anyway awarded to Spain for pushing going on in the wall.

16': A brilliant break from Portugal, but in the end wasted. Ronaldo plays a brilliant pass in his own half to Guedes, which opens up the Spanish midfield. The youngster though, takes too much time on the ball, and attack breaks.

14': Surprisingly, Ronaldo is playing like a No.10, dropping in deep to help his midfield at times. This is something which he rarely does at Real Madrid.

12': Spain are basically playing 3-7 formation, with Sergio Busquets dropping alongside Ramos and Pique, and the full backs joining the midfield.

10': Chance for Spain! A good cross in the box by Isco is brought down by Costa. Silva is the first to it, and takes an effort from his right foot, but the shot is well above.

7': That early goal has knocked the stuffing out of Spain. They have the ball now, with Portugal happy to sit back deep.

4': PENALTY FOR PORTUGAL! Ronaldo does a step over, and beats club teammate Nacho, who sticks out a leg. GOAL! Ronaldo dispatches the penalty with ease for his 82nd career international goal!

2': Spain get us undergoing, but its Portugal with the early possession and dominance. Ronaldo with a couple of skills!


The players have made their on to the pitch.

Can they do it?

Less than 30 mins to go before the big encounter kicks off!

Expected this starting XI from Portugal, with Ronaldo leading the line.

Spain have announced their starting XI, and there is a surprise exclusion of Thiago!

The game is also between two creative players. Manchester City teammates will turn foes today. Which Silva will come out on top?

Will Ronaldo be able to recreate this piece of magic? 

Relief for Ronaldo ahead of the match, all legal proceedings against him in the tax fraud case to be closed.

Ahead of the huge match, let's take a look at the key battles which will have an impact on the game.


The stage is set for the biggest match of the group stage round. It's PORTUGAL vs SPAIN. What a contest it will prove out to be. Cristiano Ronaldo taking on Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique. Andres Iniesta aiming to weave his magic against Portugese back line.   

So this is it! The World Cup is back after four long years. This edition is being played in Russia. The tournament commences on June 14, and will conclude on July 15. Hosts Russia will play the first match against Saudi Arabia.

Defending champions Germany are on of the favorites to retain their crown, though, they will face stiff competition from 2010 champions Spain, 1998 winners France and five-time champions Brazil. While these three teams are expected to win, the likes of Argentina, Portugal and England are the outsiders to take home the trophy.

While these are the teams expected to win the trophy, there are three 'black horses' for the tournament.

1. Belgium: There is a very strong reason to consider Belgium as favorites, but it's way too early for that. The team managed by Roberto Martinez has many outstanding players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne. The quality in their midfield is second to none. Yet, they are no Spain or Germany. The growth of Belgium has begun only in recent time, and its fair to say not many within the team would actually believe they go till the end. Though, it won't be wrong to say given the quality they have, a surprise is very possible.

2. Croatia: They are arguably in the Group of Death, yet, the Croatian team will feel extremely confident of passing the group stage comfortably. That is a very minimum which the team should dream of, given they have the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. The quality in their midfield is particulary good, and that might make them dream of winning the trophy. But in all honesty, that is improbable.

3. Uruguay: They were the dark horses back in 2010, they are the dark horses in 2018 as well. There is no denying the quality they possess. Well, not many teams can say they have two world class defenders in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, and two strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Yet, beyond these four players, there isn't much quality. The good thing for Uruguay though is the fact they can claim to have the easiest group, with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as their opponents. A qualification from group stages should be all but confirmed, and with the four world class players, you can put a cent on them doing the unthinkable.

A couple of teams have suffered off the field issues ahead of the extravaganza. Spain saw a change in their head coach, as Fernando Hierro took over from Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked on Wednesday following his decision to sign a contract with Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Germany also have been hit by an issue to couple of their players. Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan have been caught in controversy following their decision to take a picture with the Turkish President earlier this May.

It sparked outrage within their country, with a section of fans booing Gundogan and Ozil during Germany's friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia. Their manager, Joachim Low though, came out in their support, and criticized the fans for their reaction towards their players.

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