Ronaldo who? Ramos hat-trick sends Portugal into last eight

Ronaldo who? Ramos hat-trick sends Portugal into last eight
Goncalo Ramos of Portugal (C) scores the 5-1 during the FIFA World Cup 2022 round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, 06 December 2022. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday Dec 06, 2022. 23:23

Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick as Portugal crushed Switzerland 6-1 in a 2022 World Cup last 16 match at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Tuesday night, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Morocco.

Ramos was picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (who had annoyed coach Fernando Santos with an angry reaction to being substituted in the final group game against South Korea) and responded with a performance which will live long in the memory for the Navigators.

The 21-year-old, in his first start at international level, stunned the Swiss defence in the 17th minute with a brilliant left-footed finish, smashing a shot into the top corner from a tight angle to put Portugal in charge of the match.

The Swiss nearly came up with a response from Xherdan Shaqiri on the half-hour mark, as the attacking midfielder’s shot direct from a free kick was tipped around the post for a corner kick by Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

Yet Portugal made it 2-0 on 33 minutes, with veteran defender Pepe getting on the end of Bruno Fernandes’ corner kick and thundering home a header to strengthen his team’s hold on proceedings. In the process, the 39-year-old became the oldest player to score in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

Ramos should have made it 3-0 late in the first half when put through on goal, but this time his low shot was superbly saved by Jan Sommer to just about keep the Rossocrociati alive in the game.

Yet the young striker did find the back of the net for the second time six minutes into the second half, smartly stabbing home Diogo Dalot’s low cross from the right to effectively end the game as a contest and ensure Portugal fans could start planning for a quarterfinal meeting with Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

And things got even better for the Navigators on 56 minutes when Ramos turned provider and left-back Raphael Guerreiro finished off a sweeping attack with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net for 4-0.

The Swiss got a consolation goal shortly thereafter, with Manuel Akanji scoring from close range after a corner kick was flicked on across the face of goal, but the four-goal lead was restored midway through the second half when Ramos completed his hat-trick.

The Benfica man was teed up by Joao Felix and coolly chipped the ball past the on-rushing Sommer to make it 5-1 and become the first man to score three goals in a single game at the 2022 World Cup.

There was still time for a cherry to be put on top of the cake by Portugal substitute Rafael Leao, who cut inside from the left flank and clipped home a looping finish in the second minute of added time to make it 6-1.

Portugal’s free-flowing attack will not be pitted against Morocco’s resilient defence when the teams meet in a quarterfinal at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off at 17:00 CAT.

Portugal (2) 6 (Ramos 17’ 51’ 67’, Pepe 33’, Guerreiro 56’, Leao 90+2’)

Switzerland (0) 1 (Akanji 58’)

Portugal: Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro, Carvalho, B. Silva (Neves 81’), Otavio (Vitinha 73’), Fernandes (Leao 87’), Joao Felix (Ronaldo 73’), Ramos (Horta 73’)

Switzerland: Sommer, Fernandes, Akanji, Schar (Comert 46’), Rodriguez, Freuler (Zakaria 54’), Xhaka, Shaqiri, Sow (Seferovic 54’), Vargas (Okafor 66’), Embolo (Jashari 89’)

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