Portugal power into last eight with 6-1 demolition of Switzerland

The Nation  |  Dec 08, 2022

LUSAIL    -    Portugal’s Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick on his first World Cup start to help his side beat Switzerland 6-1 on Wednesday and send them through to the quarterfinals for the first time in 16 years, setting up a clash with Morocco. Portugal coach Fernando Santos benched skipper and all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, tasking Benfica forward Ramos with leading the line despite the 21-year-old making his debut just three days before the World Cup in a friendly. Ramos had played only 10 minutes as a substitute in Qatar but the youngster looked like he belonged on the big stage with a memorable performance for Portugal who did not miss Ronaldo - a late substitute who had a goal ruled out for offside. Ramos opened the scoring in the 17th minute by picking up Joao Felix’s incisive pass before blasting the ball from a tight angle into the top corner to put the Portuguese ahead. Portugal doubled their lead through skipper Pepe when the 39-year-old timed his leap to perfection to rise above the two Swiss centre backs and head home from a Bruno Fernandes corner in the 33rd minute, with Yann Sommer well beaten yet again. The Swiss keeper did well to deny Ramos his second goal of the half with a fingertip save from a late counter-attack as

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the Portuguese went in with a 2-0 halftime lead. But Sommer could do nothing when Diogo Dalot sent in a cross six minutes after the restart, with Ramos in the right place again at the near post to slip the ball between his legs to give Portugal a three-goal cushion.

The Portuguese piled on the misery when they carved open the Swiss defence with another flowing counterattack in which Ramos found Raphael Guerreiro in acres of space and the full back fired the ball past Sommer to make it 4-0 in the 55th. Switzerland softened the blow just before the hour mark when defender Manuel Akanji sneaked in unmarked at the far post from a corner to slip a shot home after Portugal failed to clear. But a vibrant Portugal attack roared back when Ramos was set through on goal by Felix and just when it looked like he had lost the ball with a heavy touch, the forward chipped it over the onrushing Sommer to complete a welldeserved hat-trick. Substitute Rafael Leao then put the icing on the cake in second-half added time with a curling effort into the far corner as the stranded Sommer’s

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