Spain and Portugal played a game for the ages today in the 2018 World Cup as they tied 3-3 on Friday. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against a Spain side that had just fired their coach two days before. The draw was actually Portugal’s second straight opening draw in a FIFA Tournament. Last year in 2017, Portugal tied 2-2 with Mexico in the opening of the Confederations Cup. Unlike the Confederations Cup, however, this time it was Portugal who had to come from behind to earn a point. Ronaldo had a great free kick in the final minutes to put the score att 3-3 after they had gone behind to a goal from Nacho. In 2017, it was Mexico who tied in the last minute with a header from Hector Moreno.
Spain came into the World Cup as one of the favorites to win but things went into a tailspin after they fired their coach Julen Lopetegui. Lopetegui had been announced as the new coach for Real Madrid during the week and the federation didn’t take it very kindly, dismissing him on the eve of the World Cup.
This is a feeling Mexicans know too well. In 2013, Mexico had 3 coaches and fired Victor Manuel Vucetich after 2 games. Also, in 1997 they fired Bora Milutinovic after he had qualified Mexico to the World Cup (undefeated during the Hexagonal). So the Spain/Portugal draw isn’t a surprise. If the Confederations Cup is any indication, people should look forward to Portugal and Spain facing each other in the third-place game. Maybe this time, Ronaldo will actually show up for that game, as he skipped the Confederations Cup match to see his newborn son after they lost the semifinals to Chile.