2018 FIFA World Cup: Portugal v Spain talking points

Only in the first few days of the FIFA World Cup and fans have already been treated with one of the more exciting games as Portugal battled Spain.

Two teams favoured to feature in the knockout stages later on in the competition, Portugal have one of the best players to ever grace the game while Spain possess a complete line-up that results in them being considered as heavy favourites.

The two teams clashed and in 90 minutes the two teams settled for a 3-3 draw which was both exciting and well-deserved by both nations.

Here are some talking points in the World Cup clash in Sochi.

CRISTIANO, CRISTIANO AND MORE CRISTIANO

Many dubbed Portugal as dark horses in the competition as they have Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. He proved this as his importance was on full display against the 2010 World Cup champions.

The Real Madrid star made his presence felt early in the game, winning a penalty off a Nacho challenge to put Portugal ahead in four minutes.

He would then tear the hearts of the Spanish team with an attempt at David De Gea, with the latter squandering what looked like a routine save to give the Portuguese squad their second goal and second lead of the game.

And with time winding down in the contest, and Spain leading 3-2, Cristiano prepared for a free-kick. Tucking his shorts to show his chiselled legs, he swung his right boot to curve in a glorious goal that beat the Spanish defences and one that De Gea had no chance of saving.

As expected, CR7 single-handedly gave his nation an important point.

BEAUTIFUL COUNTER-ATTACKING IN THE FIRST HALF

Going up against Spain, many believed that Portugal would barely have possession as the La Roja boasted a potent midfield line-up that loved controlling the football.

Instead of hanging their heads, Portugal made the most of their chances especially in the first half and counter-attacked at any chance they had.

Coach Fernando Santos had a 4-4-2 set-up which had Cristiano and Goncalo Guedes in the front line and they constantly challenged the Spanish defence.

On numerous occasions, Portugal looked dangerous moving forward, catching their opponents on their heels but failed to score in the last moment. If the Portuguese were able to finish more chances in the first half, they could have put the game to bed early.

In the second half, it was a completely different story as Spain seemed to have suppressed their counter-attacks.

DIEGO COSTA FINALLY DELIVERS

Spain had the pleasure of having capable centre-forwards in the past with Fernando Torres and David Villa.

In the last World Cup, they placed their hopes on Diego Costa now it seems to start to finally pay off.

With many criticising him for not being clinical, Costa was finally unleashed in the game with an impressive first goal that erased everything the critics had to say to him.

After receiving a long ball from Sergio Busquets, Costa used his physicality to beat Pepe to the ball and used his composure to slot the ball past goalkeeper Rui Patricio to even the score at 1-1.

With his confidence brimming, Costa would find the net again later on a set-piece from Spain. Busquests appeared to be the provider again as his his header found Costa who beat his marker to safely slot the ball into the net.

ANDRES INIESTA STILL HAS IT

Even at 34 years old, Andres Iniesta clearly still has what it takes to play at such a high level.

Having already ended his long stay with Barcelona, Iniesta is playing in his final World Cup but has shown that he can still perform under such bright lights.

He was able to orchestrate from the midfield, along with Isco, and seems to be an important cog if Spain want to move forward in the competition.

His movement was fluid and his touch was still sublime against Portugal as he beat his defences to the ball most of the time. He was also able to attempt a shot that went wide of the goal.

When he was substituted off in the 70th minute, Spain maintained possession but lacked the creativity and threat that they possessed when Iniesta was still on the pitch. Moving forward, La Roja know that they can still depend on the midfield maestro to make important plays.

Comments