Portugal’s irrepressible captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning late free kick to complete a World Cup hat-trick and rescue a 3-3 draw in an enthralling match against neighbours Spain on Friday.
In by far the best game of the tournament so far, Spain forward Diego Costa notched a double before Nacho put them 3-2 ahead with a brilliant third only for Ronaldo to snatch a point.
Ronaldo, who took his tally to 84 goals in 151 games for Portugal, became only the fourth player to score in four World Cups after Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose. He had also scored in the last four European Championship tournaments.
Remarkably, the result left Iran top of Group B with three points after they earlier beat Morocco 1-0 thanks to a late own goal in a match which was pedestrian by comparison.
“I always believe in myself but obviously I want to emphasise the way the team played. We never turned away from the fight, ” said Ronaldo. “This was only the first match but we are going to believe until the end.”
Elsewhere, Jose Gimenez scored in the 89th minute to lift Uruguay to a 1-0 win over Egypt at Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Carlos Sanchez took a free kick and sent a cross toward the goal and Gimenez tallied on a header to give Uruguay its first win in a World Cup opener since 1960. Uruguay outshot Egypt 14-8 in the Group A match.
Egypt played without star striker Mohamed Salah, who injured his shoulder last month in the Champions League final while playing for Liverpool.
Iran picked up its second-ever World Cup victory, prevailing 1-0 when Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz knocked a header in his own goal during second-half stoppage time at St. Petersburg, Russia.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Iran’s Ehsan Hajsafi sent a free kick in towards the box. Bouhaddouz was positioned in front of the net and knocked the ball into his own goal to give Iran the stunning victory in the Group B match.
The World Cup victory was Iran’s first since defeating the United States in 1998. Morocco had a 13-8 edge in shots.