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Ronaldo hat-trick earns Portugal stunning draw with Spain

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Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal with a free kick during the Group B match between Portugal and Spain in FIFA World Cup action at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi Russia

The marquee group stage fixture of the 2018 World Cup did not disappoint as Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat trick in a thrilling three-all draw between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

It didn't take long for Ronaldo to make his mark on the game, just four minutes in fact, when he was brought down by Nacho for a penalty.

Fernando Hierro, the manager who admitted he "never expected" to be standing on the touchline at the World Cup, said he has "no doubts" about David de Gea despite him gifting Portugal a goal and praised his team's "personality" in overcoming adversity after three tumultuous days.

Prior to that late twist, Spain had hit back twice to put themselves on course for a positive end to a hard week, with this classic coming just two days after the sacking of manager Julen Lopetegui. It could be the key match in the group, with Portugal and Spain both set to be competing for the top spot.

The much-hyped contest lived up to its enormous billing, especially if one were to look at the way netizens reacted to the game.

Meanwhile, Spain playmaker Isco echoed Hierro's praise of the team's resiliency, adding they can take nothing for granted this summer.

The second being that the Group B match came just hours after Ronaldo settled his tax evasion case with the Spanish authorities to serve two years in prison, which in all probability be suspended, and pay a €18.8 million (S$29.4 million) fine.

For Ronaldo, widely-regarded as the one of the top two players in the world along with Argentina's Lionel Messi, the competition presents the chance to earn his country its first FIFA World Cup trophy. "We've come back and equalized twice, we feel great commitment and pride".

Ronaldo didn't hesitate to get involved early in the game.

There is also plenty to look forward to on the pitch, with the attacking flair of Cristiano Ronaldo, David Silva and Marco Asensio on show. "We have to enjoy him and give him the conditions to score more goals". Diego Costa levelled only for Ronaldo to put the 2016 European champions back in front just before half-time. None. We're a team. Nearly all of them have already won a World Cup, a European Championship, Champions League as well as the titles from the best leagues in Europe.

"It is an error, only those of us who pull on gloves and go out on the field know just how hard it is".

Ronaldo had twice given Portugal the lead with first-half goals, but Diego Costa equalized for Spain with a goal in each half. After a cross by Andres Iniesta, Busquets headed the ball back across the area and Costa touched it into the open net.

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