Ronaldo doing what he does best

In was one of the earlier moments of the World Cup, but one of the biggest, Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick against Spain cannot go without a mention.

Portugal’s saviour: Not only did Cristiano Ronaldo salvage a very vital point for Portugal against Spain, he did it in a way that didn’t give a chance to David de Gea, one of the best goalkeepers in the world.   -  AP

It’s been a fantastic World Cup so far, and to pick my favourite moments so far will be a tough ask, only because there have been so many great moments. Mexico beating Germany has to be one of the highlights of the tournament so far. The Mexicans worked hard as a team, made sure there were bodies forward on the counter and their game plan was top-notch that day. What Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio had planned was delivered on the pitch, and it must have been quite the feeling to beat the world champions.

Iceland claiming a point against Argentina was another great game to watch. Coming up against a team with one of the best players in the world and to play the way the World Cup debutant did is no easy task. The team was disciplined and defended well to make sure Lionel Messi didn’t get enough space. Going a goal down against the two-time World Cup winner is never easy, but the Icelanders managed to crawl their way back into the game and they deserve a special mention for the performance. Hannes Halldorsson saving Messi’s penalty kick topped it off and made for a great game to watch.

I think we saw one of the most complete performances of this year’s World Cup so far when Croatia played Argentina. The Croat were consistent and dominant in both of their first two games. 

They’ve kept the ball well and got their tactics right, too. Defensively, they’ve been solid. Going forward, they have the likes of Luka Modric – a contender for goal of the tournament for his side’s second goal against the South Americans, a curler from outside the box – who is a world-class player even on his worst day.

As for Argentina, their showing in Russia went from staid in its opener against Iceland to shambolic against Croatia. For goalkeeper Willy Caballero, first there was his howler of a clearance that allowed Ante Rebic to open the scoring in the second game. But Caballero looked lost throughout the game, seemingly unwilling to approach the ball and the Croatian attack, a feature most evident when Ivan Rakitic was allowed to knock in a third goal in added time.

In was one of the earlier moments of the World Cup, but one of the biggest, Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick against Spain cannot go without a mention. At 3-2, Spain made those changes to close out the game, but the Real Madrid star did what he does best. Not only did he salvage a very vital point for Portugal, he did it under immense pressure, in a way that didn’t give a chance to David de Gea, one of the best goalkeepers in the world and with a technique that takes years and years to master. For me, that has to be one of the best moments of World Cup 2018 so far.