(Football news) Goncalo Ramos grabbed all the headlines after he replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and scored a hat trick as Portugal stormed their way into the World Cup quarterfinals with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Switzerland. Before the match, head coach Fernando Santos made a brave call to drop Ronaldo following a small dispute in their last match, but Portugal proved to be free-scoring without him as they now set up a quarterfinal clash with Morocco on Saturday. Ramos, who was only making his first international start at age 21, opened the scoring with a thunderbolt strike at the near post before the so called old man Pepe rose the highest and thumped the ball in the goal from a Bruno Fernandes corner as at 39 he became the oldest scorer in a World Cup knockout game..
In the second half, Ramos struck again as he got on the end of defender Diogo Dalot’s low cross and he tapped the ball home between Sommer’s legs. Raphael Guerreiro then made it four as he capped off a well-worked team move with a brilliant powerful strike. Switzerland got a goal back in the 58th minute when Manuel Akanji found space at the back post and comfortably nodded in from a corner. Ramos completed his hattrick with a deft chip over an onrushing Sommer as he became the youngest player to score a hat trick in a World Cup knockout match since the legendary Pele in 1958. Ronaldo was finally brought off the bench on 72 minutes, and had a goal ruled out for offside, but Portugal still had time to net their sixth with a superb strike from Rafael Leao in added time.
This was Portugal’s first knockout victory since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, having suffered a group stage exit in Brazil and round of 16 elimination in South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018. After a tepid start at the other end, Switzerland striker Breel Embolo was frustrated by the Portugal defence despite making odd surging runs into the final third as their best chance of the half came when Xherdan Shaqiri’s free kick was pushed out for a corner. Sommer, who was returning from illness, did well to deny Ramos with a brilliant fingertip save from a counter-attack as the Portuguese went in with a 2-0 lead at the break. However, the Monchengladbach goalkeeper was left helpless as Portugal ran riot against their Swiss counterparts.
“We did not show the mentality that we usually bring onto the pitch. It is a very bitter evening. We gave the opponent far too much space. In a few situations I did not look too good either. This is not the way to survive against such opponents.”Sommer said
“Cristiano Ronaldo talks to me and everyone in the team. He’s our leader and always tries to help. I don’t know if I will start the next game, that’s up to the coach, I have to work as hard as I can and then we’ll see.”Ramos said after the match
Also read: WC 2022: Morocco cause a upset by beating Spain on penalties