Spain’s resolve, determination pays off in draw

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Spanish players celebrate after Nacho scores in the second half (Photo Credit: Getty Images/FIFA.com)

The highly-anticipated World Cup match between Spain and Portugal certainly did not leave spectators disappointed, as the 3-3 draw kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the very last minute.

What seemed to be an unlucky start for Spain in their first World Cup match quickly turned around. Although Spain was in possession of the ball for roughly 67% of the match and it was ultimately a great game for both squads, it was Spain’s determination throughout the match that deserves a round of applause.

Not only was the squad able to come back and equalize after Portugal’s first goal, but also again in the second half when they were down 2-1. Diego Costa was the force behind Spain’s first two goals. His first coming after controlling a long ball and getting past two Portugal defenders, then hitting a perfectly-placed, low ball to the corner of the net–just out of reach for the keeper. But what could be better than getting his first career World Cup goal? That’s right, getting an amazing set piece to tie up the score for a second time.

Diego Costa’s second goal against Portugal during their first World Cup match (Photo Credit: Getty Images/FIFA)

Of course when Spain scored and took the lead it meant Portugal counter-attacks were imminent. Luckily, the Spanish defenders did a wonderful job waiting to dive in and stop the play. Players like Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique stayed close to their marks and shut down nearly every play by the opposing squad, giving them very little wiggle room to score.

Aside from Spain’s perseverance and tight defensive line, there were two plays that really stood out. The first was a failed attempt by Andres Iniesta to set up Jordi Alba in the box. Though the initial pass was blocked by Portugal’s Pepe, the ball was immediately hammered back in by Isco, only to hit the crossbar and subsequently the goal line. What could’ve been another beautiful goal for Spain turned into a question of whether or not the ball crossed the line, but even so, the play was ended after the referee ruled Alba in an offside position.

The second play worth noting resulted in a much more positive outcome–a goal that put Spain in the lead. In the 58th minute, Silva faked out a defender before crossing it in to Isco, who unfortunately couldn’t do much with the cross other than get a foot on the ball. After the ball landed in front of Nacho, however, it was Portugal’s back line and goalkeeper who were defenseless. Nacho shot a beautiful ball through Portugal’s defenders that hit the post and whipped into the goal.

Though this evenly-matched game ended in a draw, Spain is focused on the road ahead. 

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