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No Ronaldo, no problem: Ramos’ hat-trick takes Portugal to the quarter-finals

origin 1Portugal’s Goncalo Ramos celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 football match between Portugal and Switzerland at Lusail Stadium. Tom Weller/dpa

Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench and was just a spectator as his substitute Gonçalo Ramos scored their first World Cup hat-trick in Qatar to lift Portugal to a 6-1 victory over Switzerland and the quarter-finals.

They are now set for a clash with Morocco, who continued their impressive World Cup run by defeating underwhelming former champions Spain 3-0 on penalties on Tuesday.

Ramos, making his first international start, opened the gala evening in the 17th minute, breaking the deadlock for Portugal following an assist from João Felix.

Pepe doubled the lead for the Portuguese side, becoming the oldest player to score in a World Cup knockout stage match. Ramos missed a great chance before the break but recovered early in the second half, finishing with a low ball from Diogo Dalot.

He then assisted Raphael Guerreiro for Portugal’s fourth goal in the 55th minute, before Switzerland managed a comeback through Manuel Akanji in the 58th minute.

But any hopes of a comeback were soon dashed, as Ramos surpassed his stunning performance by completing a hat-trick in the 67th minute and Rafael Leão scored Portugal’s sixth goal in stoppage time.

Ramos is now the first player to score a hat-trick in his first World Cup start since top scorer Miroslav Klose for Germany in 2002.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream come true,” Ramos said after the match.

The final score also meant Portugal overcame England’s 6-2 win over Iran to record Qatar’s biggest World Cup victory so far.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it was a very good night. The team had a great attitude, they were focused during every moment of the match. It was a great match,” he told broadcasters RTP.

Eventually Ronaldo came on, but there wasn’t much he could do on the pitch as his side proved they were doing quite well without the Portuguese star.

He was not named in Portugal’s starting squad for a match in a major tournament for the first time since 2008.

Coach Fernando Santos said ahead of the Switzerland game that he “didn’t like” Ronaldo’s reaction to the World Cup defeat by South Korea, but stressed that the option to leave him on the bench “didn’t nothing to do with it.”

The striker was eliminated in the 65th minute of their last group stage defeat and denied venting on his coach.

“He (Ronaldo) knows perfectly well that the most important thing is the team. What happened today was the coach’s choice and it must be respected,” said Pepe.

Ronaldo’s absence soon proved to be no problem as his replacement Ramos controlled Felix’s pass to fire Portugal’s first goal into the roof of the net.

Defender Pepe headed in a corner in the 33rd minute to make it 2-0 and reach the milestone of becoming the oldest player to score in a World Cup knockout match at 39 years and 283 days.

Switzerland made themselves dangerous for the first time in the 38th minute after goalkeeper Diogo Costa deflected a cross into danger and Remo Freuler headed for the net, but his shot was cleared off the line by Dalot.

Just before the break, Ramos slipped and tried to put the ball in the bottom corner, but Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer made a fine save.

However, the hat-trick scorer did not disappoint in the 51st minute, after scoring Dalot’s low ball from close range. Just four minutes later, Guerreiro completed an excellent team move as qualification for the quarter-finals had become just a matter of time.

Akanji scored a corner at the far post to give Switzerland some consolation in the 58th minute, but Ramos scored his hat-trick from close range in the 67th minute.

There was still time for substitute Leão to add his name to the scoresheet, as he played one-two with Guerreiro before shooting a stunner into the net.

Asked if he will start against Morocco, Ramos replied: “It’s not for me to decide. I have to work hard and see what happens.”

Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praised his national team saying “it was one of the best nights in Portuguese football”.

“I think the choices made by the manager have worked out quite well overall,” he told broadcasters RTP3.

After being beaten by Portugal, midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri has apologized to fans.

“We are very sorry. On behalf of the team, I apologize to all the fans, we were unable to maintain our usual performance on the pitch,” he said.

Head coach Murat Yakin added: “I’m sorry for the players, for the nation. We had the chance, it’s a great team. We have to accept that some things didn’t work out today. I won’t blame the team, they tried everything.” “.

origin 1Portugal’s head coach Fernando Santos talks with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who is about to be substituted during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 soccer match between Portugal and Switzerland at Lusail stadium. Tom Weller/dpa
origin 1Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 football match between Portugal and Switzerland at Lusail Stadium. Tom Weller/dpa