- Goncalo Ramos became the first player since 1990 to score a hat trick in the World Cup knockout stages.
- Portugal’s performance reflected the efforts of a cohesive unit.
- Coach Fernando Santos benched Ruben Neves and Joao Cancelo in favour of the starters.
Goncalo Ramos scored a hat trick as Portugal routed Switzerland 6-1 to advance to the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals against Morocco.
On Wednesday night at Lusail Stadium, as the veterans of Portuguese football passed the torch to the next generation, Ramos took the field in place of the sidelined Cristiano Ronaldo and scored a three trick for the ages.
To add to Ramos’ early goal, veteran Pepe—playing in Ronaldo’s place and so donning the captain’s armband—scored before halftime.
At the start of the second half, Ramos scored again. Before the hour mark, Portugal had already scored four goals, and Raphael Guerreiro added a fifth. With his third goal, Ramos became the first player since 1990 to score a hat trick in the World Cup knockout stages.
Although Portugal’s talismanic captain was cut after an angry reaction after being substituted against South Korea in the group stages, the team was more even without him.
When Cristiano Ronaldo left Portugal’s team, everyone else stood up to the plate.
And that wasn’t Fernando Santos’ only inspired play as head coach. Both Ruben Neves and Joao Cancelo were benched in favour of the starters’ discretion.
Ramos, now 21 years old, was just a toddler when Ronaldo made his Portugal debut. Before tonight, he had only played a total of 35 minutes of international football, having made his debut just last month. Never before had he begun military service for his country. It was crunch time. And I must say, he did not let me down.
Portugal’s performance reflected the efforts of a cohesive unit. There was hope for the first time in the tournament that they would actually win.
In the 56th minute, Switzerland’s Manuel Akanji scored a consolation goal by turning in a superbly weighted cross at the far post, but this did not change the outcome of the game.