Cristiano Ronaldo gets World Cup off to flying start by winning, converting penalty vs. Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo was taken down by Nacho for a penalty in the 2018 World Cup Group B match between Portugal and Spain. (Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo got his 2018 World Cup off to a flying start with a goal just three minutes into Portugal’s opener against Spain.

Ronaldo fooled Spanish defender Nacho – his club teammate at Real Madrid – with a stepover, and took a tumble near the edge of the penalty area. The referee, without hesitation, pointed to the spot.

On first look, it appeared to be a dive:

But replays showed Nacho clearly caught Ronaldo’s right foot with his mistimed tackle. It was a completely legitimate penalty. Video assistant referees quickly checked the play and upheld the call.

And Ronaldo, as cooly and calmly as could be, stepped up to the ball and spanked it into the side-netting to give Portugal a stunning early lead against the favored Spaniards:

Ronaldo has a somewhat shoddy World Cup record. He entered the 2018 tournament having scored just three career goals on the global stage. But he’s now scored at four separate World Cups. That’s a pretty impressive statistic.

Diego Costa, however, equalized with a controversial solo goal of his own 20 minutes later:

The group stage’s most anticipated game lived up to the hype.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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