World Cup winners and losers: Cristiano Ronaldo wins the day

(Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /

The first full day of action featured three tightly-contested affairs all ending on dramatic notes, as groups A and B completed their first set of games.  Here’s a look at some of the winners and losers of the day.


Cristiano Ronaldo. Until the 88th minute, Ronaldo ranked among the day’s top performers just by virtue of the two goals scored against Spain in group B’s marquee matchup. Neither of the two goals was anything special, a penalty kick and a comical blooper from Spain’s keeper contributing.

His late-game free kick was an instant classic, a moment that cemented Ronaldo’s legacy as one of the best to ever do it. Perfect execution in a delicate moment when the eyes of his nation and the entire world were on him on the world’s biggest stage. Truly a legend.

Diego Costa. The Spanish striker can be a polarizing figure, a villain for opposing defenses whose play can be described as borderline “dirty” by the haters, and for his fans – an extremely efficient forward looking to gain any edge over opponents.

No better play to showcase that then during the events leading up to his amazing goal. He single-handedly creates the scoring opportunity, in this case literally with one forehand to neck of Pepe, follows it up by taking on three Portugal defenders and sending a “daisy-cutter” to the back of the net. Costa’s second goal was a classic poacher’s goal as he crashed the net and Costa appears to be peaking at the right moment which is great news for Spain, whose game has become more reliant on a classic No. 9 as their tiki-taka brand of soccer is less threatening than in the past.

Soccer. Football, Futbol. The Spain-Portugal game had all the ingredients of an instant classic. Fantastic goals, dramatic shifts in results, and beautiful soccer.

(Photo by Craig Mercer – CameraSport via Getty Images)
(Photo by Craig Mercer – CameraSport via Getty Images) /


David De Gea. The world’s most acclaimed keeper had an embarrassing performance against Portugal. His error on Portugal’s (and Ronaldo’s) second goal will be next to impossible to live down.

Luis Suarez. Suarez’s debut at this World Cup was a complete fiasco. The usually lethal finisher failed to find the mark on three separate and glorious occasions, including a stunning miss early on in the game from a few feet away with the goal gaping wide open. In the end, the missed chances will not come back to haunt Suarez and Uruguay, but the misses could have proven extremely costly had Uruguay not been able to find the late winner. Playing in what is most likely his last World Cup the legendary Uruguayan No. 9 seems to have lost some of his…bite.

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Casual World Cup viewers watching the undercard games.  Safe to say the first two games of the day did not exactly deliver much in terms of entertainment or quality soccer. We saw a shot on target only every 20 minutes during the Egypt-Uruguay and Morocco-Iran games and two late goals off set pieces. The run of play did not offer much in terms of flowing, combinative soccer or individual skill. The heavy tension and the high stakes of each game on the World Cup stage notwithstanding, these games were hardly an advertisement for the beautiful game.