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16th Jun 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo had the last laugh after gloriously petty incident with Jordi Alba

The incident happened minutes before Ronaldo's late free-kick

Simon Lloyd

What. A. Game.

If people had been left feeling a little shortchanged from the opening three fixtures of the 2018 World Cup, what happened between Spain and Portugal in Sochi on Friday night more than made up for things.

The Iberian derby, right from the get-go, was a fantastic watch – high in quality and full of incident.

Inevitably, much of the discussion after the game has centred on a certain Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, whose hat-trick helped Portugal secure a 3-3 draw.

Ronaldo had won and scored an early penalty to open the scoring and – thanks to a howler from David De Gea – was able to re-establish the lead for Portugal after Diego Costa’s equaliser.

In the second half, Costa equalised again. Spain then took the lead through Nacho’s sweetly struck half-volley. Spain had seemed to be heading for victory, only for Ronaldo to have the final say with a late free-kick. Incredible.

Minutes prior to that, Ronaldo had also engaged in a wonderfully petty incident with Spain’s Jordi Alba, who was in no rush to take a throw-in.

With the seconds ticking away and Spain in a winning position, Ronaldo tossed the ball too Alba in a bid to hurry the Barcelona full-back up.

Alba – deliberately, according to some – failed to catch the ball, eating away a few more seconds…

… and earning him an earful from Ronaldo

Eventually the throw-in was taking, only for Portugal to win a free-kick close to the Spanish area shortly after. We all know what happened next. Ronaldo very much had the last laugh.

Portugal will face Morocco on Wednesday in their next group game, while Spain take on Iran. Their final group matches will take place a week on Monday, with both teams expected to secure their places in the knockout stages of the tournament.