01:30 am: It’s 90 minutes past midnight in India, and we won’t be surprised if, like us, you all are too hyped to sleep! Stunning, stunning game of football. Unfortunately, it had to end. And so does this live blog. Report, reaction and much more coming from our side. Sleep is for the weak, eh?

Catch you tomorrow (well in 12 hours from now) for move live action. Remember, there are four matches.

01:28 am: Perfect time to read this piece by Arka Bhattacharya on the phenom that is Cristiano Ronaldo:

Full-time in Sochi and it ends 3-3! What a corker it has been. Cristiano Ronaldo with a hat-trick, Diego Costa with a brace, David de Gea with a howler. It’s time to catch our breaths. Madness.

Final seconds here: Spain have now conceded as many goals in the 90 minutes as they have in their entire qualifying campaign. Three!

Into 4 minutes of extra time, Portugal 3-3 Spain

Quaresma almost makes it 4-3! A lovely dribble down the left, cutting in but a last gasp block saves Spain.

87th minute: GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!! CRISTIANO RONALDO YOU GENIUS! What a stunning free-kick. Ronaldo, with his inimitable technique, gets the ball up and over the wall and De Gea has no chance.

86th minute- After 10 minutes of referring to Iago Aspas as Lucas Vazquez, the real Vazquez comes on for David Silva. All six subs are done. 3-2 Spain as Portugal have a free-kick.

After 83 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

Spain are playing keep-ball now... their way of seeing out the lead.

Portugal have never lost when Ronaldo has scored more than one goal. Portugal have never lost a World Cup match after taking the lead. Both are about to change in 7 minutes and a little more.

After 80 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

A break in play with 10 mins left to go as Ronaldo bundles into de Gea and Pique while trying to latch on to a through ball. Treatment needed but he Pique is OK to continue.

Andre Silva comes on for Portugal... do they have it in them to find another goal?

After 75 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

Spain are sitting back now but Portugal are not quite as incisive at breaking down a defence as are with counterattacking. Ronaldo is trying, Quaresma is trying but nothing much happening.

Meanwhile, Costa is off. What a performance from him tonight. Former Liverpool legend Iago Aspas comes on. Don’t let him take a corner if Spain are trailing late on.

After 70 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

Three changes that have happened in quick succession.

For Portugal: Joao Mario and Ricardo Quaresma come on, for Spain Thiago replaces Iniesta


After 66 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

Portugal readying their first substitution as we all gather our breath back. Ronaldo, since Nacho’s goal, has been fouled and thrown a full on tantrum. This match was lacking just that. IT’s now Spain’s turn to look for the counter as Portugal push forward.

After 63 mins, Portugal 2-3 Spain

58th minute: GOALLLLLL, NACHOOO! WOW. This is already an all-time classic, ladies and gentlemen. Some excellent interplay down the left by Iniesta and Isco before the ball fortuitously falls to to an onrushing Nacho and the right bank rifles it home from outside the box for one of the GOALS OF THE TOURNAMENT!

55th min: AND DIEGO COSTA SCORES AGAIN! Oh what a match. All the talk of Spain’s Tiki-Taka and they have scored two proper Route One goals, so to speak. The free kick is hit to the far post, the ball is headed back into the box and Costa bundles it home. VAR being used again to check for a foul, but the goal stands.

After 54 mins Portugal 2-1 Spain

Some first half numbers... Portugal are increasingly sitting back now. Iniesta fouled at a central position. Can Spain equalise from here?

After 50 mins Portugal 2-1 Spain

Second half starts in Sochi. We only hope the final 45 are half as good as the first 45. Good possession for Spain to start the half but once again it’s Portugal who look more threatening going forward. But their counter fizzles out because CR7 slips as does the right back – boot change in the half time not working?

SECOND HALF UNDERWAY: Are we in for more madness? Sign us up, please.

12:25 am: What a day it has been for Ronaldo so far!

HALF-TIME: Spain have pretty much shot themselves in the foot in Sochi. First, a penalty conceded by Nacho and then, a late error by an otherwise reliable De Gea,

HALF-TIME, PORTUGAL 2-1 SPAIN: PHEWWWW. Pardon us for a minute, the fingers are hurting! What a mad first half in Sochi. Cristiano Ronaldo with two goals, one a penalty early on and one a gift from David de Gea. DAVID DE GEA OF ALL PEOPLE! Diego Costa’s great solo goal happened between those CR7 goals.

44th min: GOALLLL, CRISTIANO RONALDO! What a howler by David de Gea. It’s a powerful low shot by CR7 but one that DDG saves in his sleep usually. It’s a nightmare moment for de Gea.

After 41 minutes Portugal 1-1 Spain

The two Fernandos prowling the touchline, Portugal’s Santos more fiery, as he usually is. Just a bit of a lull in this game, with a few niggling fouls in the middle of the park.

After 37 minutes Portugal 1-1 Spain

Iniesta almost puts Spain ahead! Cut back from the left byline, Iniesta hits it first time with his left foot, but doesn’t connect properly. Squeezes inches wide of the post.

After 33 minutes Portugal 1-1 Spain

No let up in the tempo of this game, it’s all happening at breakneck pace. Meanwhile, here’s the *no-foul* decision by VAR that allowed Costa’s goal to stand... dodgy, no? Could easily have been given a foul.

After 30 minutes Portugal 1-1 Spain

WHAT A MAD HALF HOUR IN SOCHI! Confirmation that VAR was indeed used for the first time to check if Costa did foul Pepe. Bruno Fernandes goes into the book meanwhile.

After 28 minutes, Portugal 1-1 Spain

26th min - CROSSBAR!! Isco stings the Portugal goal frame with a shot as Portugal narrowly escape conceding another one. It’s millimeters away from being given a goal. What a mad few moments!

A freekick now for Spain from a dangerous position... Silva hits the wall..

24th minute: DIEGO COSTA SCORES! Spain are back level. Did Costa foul Pepe in the buildup? A long ball, Costa challenged by Pepe, comes out strong and displays extraordinary holding skills to keep the last two defenders at bay, fires it low into the goal. VAR is apparently used to check if it was a foul. Waiting for confirmation on that.

After 22 mins, Portugal 1-0 Spain

CHANCE! How is this game still 1-0? First Iniesta makes one of those mazy runs where the ball sticks to his feet, and finds Silva in the box, whose shot is deflected for a corner. Portugal then break away at speed, Ronaldo is free down the left and has a great chance but finds Guedes with a pass instead who dilly-dallies and Spain just about clear.

YELLOW CARD: Sergio Busquets is into the ref’s books early after that freekick was conceded.

After 17 minutes, Portugal 1-0 Spain

CHANCE PORTUGAL! Ronaldo with a superb flick from the right flank to Guedes, who finds himself with acres of green to run into... CR7 gives him a outlet to his left but Guedes goes all the way and fires a tame shot.

Soon enough, a free kick for CR7 from the right flank... straight into the wall.

Mandatory Cristiano Ronaldo appreciation: What. A. Player

After 12 minutes, Portugal 1-0 Spain

Looks like Spain have been just as stunned by those of us watching by that early goal but they are starting to find their footing. David Silva has a good chance to volley in from the box but he slips just before taking the shot, goes high and wide. Ronaldo, meanwhile. showing off his heading skills with a couple of fancy glancing headers.

A corner for Spain, taken short, comes to nothing.

After 7 minutes, Portugal 1-0 Spain

Phew. Ronaldo and Portugal started the match on the front foot, we are not sure Spain even held the ball for more than a few seconds. Into the 3rd minute, Nacho found himself in the way of Ronaldo at the edge of the box and a little contact was all CR7 needed... but it was a penalty alright.

And a whole host of records...

4th minute: RONALDO SCORESSSSS! WHAT A START FOR PORTUGAL! Was there any doubt? Ronaldo takes a couple of breaths, sends De Gea the wrong way and fires it into the top right.

3rd minute: WHAT DRAMA! 126 second into the game and Cristiano Ronaldo is fouled in the penalty area, referee awards penalty!

KICKOFF: Portugal in all-red, Spain in all-white...

11:29 pm: Alright, we are all set! Let the game begin...

11:25 pm: It’s national anthems time! Cristiano Ronaldo is pretty pumped up. As for the Spaniards, well... it’s hard to say. They don’t sing along, you see.

11:20 pm: Last World Cup or not, this will be his best shot at winning the one thing that has eluded him throughout the last 15 years. What has been proven conclusively is that Cristiano, and only Cristiano, will get to decide when his last rodeo takes place.

Read more:

11:15 pm: 15 goals in World Cup qualifying for Cristiano Ronaldo but only 3 goals in 13 World Cup appearances across three tournaments. He’ll be desperate to improve that record.

Meanwhile... Spain have started their last two World Cup campaigns with defeat. The not-so-disastrous 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in 2010 and a disastrous 5-1 defeat vs Netherlands last time around. What’s it going to be tonight?

11:10 pm: Between Spain and Portugal, they have claimed the last three European titles. And when you include Spain’s 2010 World Cup to the mix, there’s plenty of pedigree on show tonight.

11:05 pm: Some numbers to get you going... we are 25 minutes away from the kickoff.

11:00 pm: This is how the two teams lineup (Graphic courtesy: Fifa World Cup / Twitter)

10:50 pm: The two countries have met on 35 occasions overall, with Spain winning 16 times to Portugal’s six.

10:45 pm: Two late goals in two matches today. Are we in for another match with late drama?

10:40 pm: Coming into this World Cup, Spain had been seen as one of the outstanding favourites to lift the trophy in Russia after a two-year unbeaten run under Julen Lopetegui.

But Wednesday’s sensational decision by the Spanish Football Federation to sack Lopetegui, in response to the announcement he would take over at Real Madrid after the tournament, has threatened to derail their chances.

Suddenly Hierro – a great former Real and Spain defender but a man with little coaching experience – finds himself in charge of a side eager to show they can still go all the way on Russian soil.


Of all the ways to lose a World Cup game, scoring an own goal in the 94th minute is one of the worst possible... IRAN become the first Asian team since Japan in 2010 to register a World Cup win. Heartbreaking for Morocco, whose players can’t believe the sudden turn of events. It’s only Iran’s second win in WC history.

10:20 pm: Rejoice! For the lineups are here... (Graphic courtesy: Fifa World Cup / Twitter)

10:15 pm: The only other time the two rivals met in a World Cup was in 2010, when Portugal were the first of the four victims to fall 1-0 to Spain, who were on their way to the title.


10:05 pm: Allow Portugal coach Fernando Santos to hype you up more this game:

“This is a ‘Classico’. We are two countries who have a lot in common, not least the fact we share a border. We are neighbours, but also teams with great quality. We don’t want to be arrogant but we are full of hope.”

10:00 pm: How many of you were waiting for this match the moment the draws were announced? Our guess would be anyone and everyone who loves football. Arguably the most high-profile clash of the World Cup is upon us. Although the neighbouring countries are old foes, this is only their second meeting at the World Cup, after David Villa and Co won a tense Round-of-16 duel in South Africa.