Ramos gives Portugal the lead with an ‘unbelievable strike’Portugal coach Fernando Santos dropped Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench for the last-16 meeting with Switzerland and was rewarded with a hat-trick from replacement Goncalo Ramos and a stunning team display.
Santos expressed his displeasure at gestures made by Ronaldo when he was substituted in the last group game against South Korea and it was the first time in 31 games stretching back to 2008 that he had not started in a major tournament.
Portugal made light of the 37-year-old’s absence to put it mildly, as 21-year-old Benfica striker Ramos hit the first treble of this tournament on his first international start, to help set up a quarter-final against surprise package Morocco after their win against Spain on penalties.
Ramos started the rout after 17 minutes when he drilled a finish past Swiss keeper Jan Sommer at the near post before veteran 39-year-old defender Pepe doubled Portugal’s lead when he headed home Bruno Fernandes’ corner in the 33rd minute.
The dream full debut continued when Ramos effectively ended the contest with a near post swoop on Diogo Dalot’s cross six minutes after the break, the striker turning provider to set up Raphael Guerriero to round off a sweeping move with a powerful strike four minutes later.
Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji pulled one back for Switzerland but Ramos swiftly got his third with a clever chip, which was the signal for the crowd at Lusail Stadium to noisily demand Ronaldo’s introduction.
Portugal coach Ramos obliged with the game won, Ronaldo entering to rapturous applause, but his team-mates deserve all the acclaim for a high-class performance.
Ronaldo had the ball in the net but was ruled offside so it was another young pretender to his crown, 23-year-old Rafael Leao, who crowned a dazzling display when he curled in the sixth.
Fifa World Cup: Schedule and route to the finalWorld Cup TV coverage guidePortugal shrug off Ronaldo sub-plot Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal disallowed for offside after he came on as a substitute in the second halfCristiano Ronaldo’s absence did not remove the spotlight and attention from the fading superstar but actually made it shine even more brightly in his direction at Lusail Stadium.
Ronaldo was swarmed by photographers in the dug-out after the national anthems then received a pop star’s welcome when he came on as substitute after 73 minutes following prolonged and noisy demands for his introduction, particularly from the locals who had come to see him in the flesh.
The focus should not be Ronaldo though.
The credit must go to a Portugal team who looked more mobile, fluid and unified without the man who is currently searching for his next club having left Manchester United.
Portugal is a team full of talent even without Ronaldo and Ramos made an instant impact, not just with his goals but also his movement and team play.
And the sweet late strike from Rafael Leao was another demonstration of Portugal’s bright future, one that hardly looked in jeopardy without Ronaldo as they swept Switzerland aside.
Portugal coach Santos is a stern-faced individual but a shrewd operator with a Euro 2016 triumph on his CV. He would be fully justified in allowing himself a smile after his brave, but ultimately correct decision, to leave out his team’s towering presence.
This was such a complete performance from Portugal that there is surely no starting place for Ronaldo in the upcoming World Cup quarter-final against Morocco.
More to follow.
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PortugalSquad number22Player nameDiogo Costa
Squad number2Player nameDiogo Dalot
Squad number3Player namePepe
Squad number4Player nameRúben Dias
Squad number5Player nameRaphaël Guerreiro
Squad number25Player nameOtávio
Squad number14Player nameWilliam Carvalho
Squad number10Player nameBernardo Silva
Squad number8Player nameBruno Fernandes
Squad number26Player nameGonçalo Ramos
Squad number11Player nameJoão Félix
Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo
Squad number15Player nameRafael Leão
Squad number16Player nameVitinha
Squad number18Player nameRúben Neves
Squad number21Player nameRicardo Horta
SwitzerlandSquad number1Player nameSommer
Squad number5Player nameAkanji
Squad number22Player nameSchär
Squad number13Player nameRodríguez
Squad number10Player nameXhaka
Squad number2Player nameFernandes
Squad number15Player nameSow
Squad number8Player nameFreuler
Squad number17Player nameVargas
Squad number7Player nameEmbolo
Squad number23Player nameShaqiri
Squad number6Player nameZakaria
Squad number9Player nameSeferovic
Squad number18Player nameCömert
Squad number19Player nameOkafor
Squad number26Player nameJashari
25Otávio14William Carvalho10Bernardo Silva
8Bruno Fernandes26Gonçalo Ramos11João Félix
22Diogo Costa2Dalot3Pepe4Rúben Dias5Guerreiro25OtávioSubstituted forVitinhaat 74’minutes14William Carvalho10Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forNevesat 81’minutes8Bruno FernandesSubstituted forRafael Leãoat 87’minutes26Gonçalo RamosSubstituted forRicardo Hortaat 74’minutes11João FélixSubstituted forCristiano Ronaldoat 73’minutesSubstitutes1Rui Patrício6João Palhinha7Cristiano Ronaldo9André Silva12Sá15Rafael Leão16Vitinha17João Mário18Neves20Cancelo21Ricardo Horta23Nunes24António SilvaSwitzerlandFormation 3-1-4-2
1Sommer5Akanji22SchärBooked at 43minsSubstituted forCömertat 45’minutesBooked at 59mins13Rodríguez10Xhaka2Fernandes15SowSubstituted forSeferovicat 54’minutes8FreulerSubstituted forZakariaat 54’minutes17VargasSubstituted forOkaforat 66’minutes7EmboloSubstituted forJashariat 89’minutes23ShaqiriSubstitutes4Elvedi6Zakaria9Seferovic11Steffen12Omlin14Aebischer16Fassnacht18Cömert19Okafor20Frei21Kobel24Köhn25Rieder26JashariReferee:César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos
Live TextMatch ends, Portugal 6, Switzerland 1.
Second Half ends, Portugal 6, Switzerland 1.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ricardo Horta (Portugal).
Attempt blocked. Rúben Dias (Portugal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Vitinha with a cross.
Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Eray Cömert.
Goal! Portugal 6, Switzerland 1. Rafael Leão (Portugal) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Raphaël Guerreiro.
Offside, Switzerland. Haris Seferovic tries a through ball, but Noah Okafor is caught offside.
Substitution, Switzerland. Ardon Jashari replaces Breel Embolo.
Substitution, Portugal. Rafael Leão replaces Bruno Fernandes.
Foul by Noah Okafor (Switzerland).
Bruno Fernandes (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Noah Okafor (Switzerland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Haris Seferovic.
Offside, Portugal. William Carvalho tries a through ball, but Cristiano Ronaldo is caught offside.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal).
Substitution, Portugal. Rúben Neves replaces Bernardo Silva.
Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Diogo Dalot.
Attempt blocked. Breel Embolo (Switzerland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri.
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