Portugal needed Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver… and he did.
The superstar from Real Madrid scored on a late free-kick that tied up the score at 3-3 against Spain in their first match of the tournament. The goal was Ronaldo’s third of the day and marked the 51st time in the World Cup that a player converted a hat trick. It also marked the 51st career hat trick of Ronaldo’s soccer career.
However, the biggest achievement of the day came on Ronaldo’s first goal.
On the spot kick goal, Ronaldo became just the fourth player in the history of the World Cup play to score at four different Cups. In addition, he became the first player to score in eight international tournaments. An achievement that his rival for greatest player of all-time Lionel Messi does not even have.
Despite all of the individual achievements, it was the tie that brought the most immediate gratification for Ronaldo and team.
With Portugal looking at a potential loss with a few minutes left in the match, Ronaldo was fouled by Gerard Pique, setting up the heroics.
With the match on the line, Ronaldo sent the ball up and around the wall where it barely sails past the head of a defender. There was nothing the keeper could do, as it fell into the top corner of the net. It was perfect.
Portugal will next play Morocco on June 20. Spain will take on Iran on the same day.