Read in Catalan

Spain's crisis isn't over because Cristiano Ronaldo didn't want it to be. The fire started by the Lopetegui issue just days before the kick-off of the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia keeps burning. Cristiano, Portugal's great star, made a hat-trick to snatch victory from the Spanish team's hands.

The result means, for the moment, the doubts swirling around the Spanish team remain. Spain knows how to manage tempo, get and control the ball, but shows great weaknesses defensively.

Cristiano before the world

The Spanish team's credibility was at stake. It came out wanting to demonstrate it hadn't been affected by its internal problems and the change of coach, but it just wasn't possible.

Spain's World Cup started in the worst way possible, with a penalty in favour of Portugal. The third minute of the match, with many fans still looking for their seats in the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Nacho left his leg loose to stop Ronaldo. And the Portuguese forward, skilled like few, fell within the box. The referee blew for the penalty. He didn't miss from eleven metres and Portugal had itself an unexpected reward. And Spain seemed to be limping even worse than expected.

Bit by bit, with another view of the match already in play and the need to score, the Spanish team got back to its roots: ball, possession, control. Spain's dominant style started to tilt things again, but they were fighting against the current.

They had chances with the ball. Iniesta and Silva did the leg work and Isco tried to finish, but it wasn't enough. They had to wait for Diego Costa, an unmovable object when he has the ball at his feet, to draw the match before the half-hour mark.

Football justice had come to Sochi, but the scoreboard wouldn't stay still for long. Ronaldo, taking part intermittently, showed his head again before half-time to sway things back towards Portugal, all thanks to an egregious mistake from David De Gea.

Comeback and hat-trick

But despite everything going on in the Spanish dressing room, they managed to come back and take back the scoreboard. Fighting spirit on the pitch and a touch of opportunism.

Spain had possession, as during the whole match, it was creating the best chances, but it just wasn't getting there. And then came three magic minutes.

Ten minutes into the second-half, from 55' to 58', the match was turned on its head. Costa scored his second, drawing the match and in his personal one-on-one against Ronaldo. And then came the greatest goal of the competition so far. Nacho, going rather unnoticed on the wing, not offering much, found a loose ball just outside the box and let rip a shot that was impossible to stop. Post, post, goal. Spain were back. The party was on, until Cristiano decided to have his say again.

Spain had the advantage, and so were getting on with what they do best: passing the ball between themselves. Half an hour of absolute domination over a lost-looking Portugal. Then Ronaldo was back. A free-kick hit the spot to complete his showcase and devastating hat-trick. His problems with Spanish tax authorities seem a long way away.

Spain and Portugal had their first match of the World Cup in Russia and gave the competition its first draw. One point apiece and there's nothing yet to separate the two big favourites in Group B. Spain's crisis isn't over yet.