By ‘Remi Oyeyemi
The ball meandered off a Portuguese defender; in search of no definite destination. Haplessly, in its sauntering, the ball found the loitering Nacho, whose in-step had earlier caused a penalty kick for Cristiano Ronaldo to tuck in to put the Spanish team 0-1 down before a redemption by Diego Costa.
Still fuming about its fumble, it furiously sought to redeem itself, the same in-step, gave a ballistic, laiser guided kiss to the sauntering ball. The ball, like a dizzied damsel, inebriated with a passionate kiss, danced off, curling, cunning, crinkling, crisping, crimping and contorting as it glazed in speed, about eighteen inches above the ground, dashing, like a blind eagle, to hit the pole before joyously embracing the net!
And it was a gooaaaaaal!!!
Beautiful in its rendition. Captivating in its delivery. Though, it was the third goal of the Spanish team in the game, it was like a cold first bottle of beer to a thirsty, droopy drunkard. The Spanish national team was up in the game for the first time since the game commenced. The score board read: Spain 3 – Portugal 2. Joy and celebration were permeating and all pervading in the Spanish fans’ section of the stadium. Hope of a victory hovers in the air.
The Spanish team further settled down after this beautiful goal. Their measured passes became more accurate. The passes were a beauty to behold. Short. Curly. Pulsating. Alluring. Deceptive. Confusing. And frustrating to the Portuguese opponents. With ball possession at 63% to 37%, advantage Spain at this point, around 84th minute, it looked as if the Spanish team would coast home with the victory.
A brief midfield action. With the tailor made, crisp passes of the Spanish team, an attack was on against the Portuguese defence. It was frustrated. A lob was floated to Ronaldo about three metres away from the Spanish “18 yard box.” He controlled the ball, turned around to make for the box, and he was brought down at the edge. Play time at this point was precisely 85:54.
The refree whistled for a foul. It was going to be a free kick. While the refree engaged the Spanish defence to measure the distance of their defence wall, Cristiano placed the ball. He moved to the right and then to the left of the placed ball. He looked at the ball on the spot as if to ascertain it has not moved. He positioned himself. Then, he rolled up his shorts on the right thigh. He close his eyes for about five seconds, opened it and took a visible deep breath. He looked at the goal post piercingly, and without glee, he glanced at the defence wall. He was set.
The refree blew his whistle for the kick to be taken. Ronaldo, with his expressionless eyes moving like comets from the goal post, his chin retreating towards the right side of his chest, took a last glance at the ball and telepathically sent it towards the Spanish goal net. The ball took off like a gliding jet, dashed in a dodgy ogee by the head of one of the Spanish defenders to indulge in what appeared to the Spanish team, a cadaverous dance in their net!
The Spanish goalkeeper, David de Gea, stunned and lost in the moment, seemed to hear the deafening hum of an invisible bird, the rhythm of which was too cacophonous for him to make any sense of. Rooted like a statue on a spot, it was as if he was in a slumber. He woke up too late. And by that time, the ball, like a desperate harlot, was in a paradisic carousal with the net behind him.
It was the equaliser! The Portuguese team has levelled up. The score board now reads Spain 3 – Portugal 3.
And the first hat trick in the 2018 World Cup of the greatest game on the surface of the planet, was made by one of the greats of the game. He also became one of the four to score in four World Cup finals. His name is Cristiano Ronaldo.
For José Ignacio Fernandez Iglesias, commonly known as Nacho, his third goal for Spain in this match was more than a redemption from having caused the third minute penalty. It was a beautiful volley, that would remain as one of the best in the 2018 tournament and probably, in the history of the tournament. The equaliser that resulted from the free kick taken by Ronaldo undoubtedly was a masterpiece, a dazzle, a delirium, a pulsate and a nectar.
Both goals, third for each of their teams in the game were fantastic and fascinating. They were hypnotizing and stupefying. They were astounding and enchanting. They were exhilarating and thrilling. They were the kind of goals that football fans live for. They were goals of a kind.
Thank you Nacho. Thank you Ronaldo.
And the 2018 Finals are just starting!