- Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped from the starting lineup for Portugal’s World Cup round of 16 match against Switzerland.
- His replacement, 21-year-old Gonçalo Ramos, scored a hat trick in a 6-1 win.
- Portugal will face Morocco, who defeated Spain earlier in the day, in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement in Portugal’s starting line-up, Gonçalo Ramos, scored the first World Cup treble in Qatar on Tuesday night as Fernando Santos’s side put on an impressive display to beat Switzerland 6-1 and book their place in the quarterfinals of the tournament. .
Ronaldo, Portugal’s record goalscorer, was ruled out of the match by coach Santos, who had earlier criticized him for appearing to react angrily to being substituted in Portugal’s previous match against South Korea.
Against the Swiss, he was replaced by the 21-year-old Ramos, who opened the scoring on 17 minutes before adding a second shortly after the break.
The Benfica striker completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute, prompting huge celebrations on the Portugal bench, including Ronaldo.
—TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 6, 2022
Portugal’s performance against the Swiss was a far cry from the display that saw them lose 2-1 to South Korea in their final group game on Friday, and Ronaldo’s replacement was at the center of it all.
Before Tuesday, Ramos had played just 33 minutes of international soccer, but his inexperience didn’t show when he opened the scoring early, hitting the ball into the roof of the net from an unlikely angle inside the Morocco box.
Veteran defender Pepe scored Portugal’s second goal, in turn becoming the oldest knockout stage scorer in World Cup history, before Ramos scored again after half time.
He completed his hat-trick with a delicate goal after defender Raphaël Guerreiro scored the fourth for Portugal and Manuel Akanji scored the consolation goal for Switzerland.
Substitute Rafael Leão completed the scoring in stoppage time with a great curling effort, capping off a memorable night for the 2016 European Champion.
Earlier in the day, Morocco surprised by beating Spain in a penalty shootout and booking their place in the first World Cup quarterfinals.
The match at the Education City Stadium in Ar Rayyan ended goalless after extra time, and Spain failed to score again in the penalty shootout, with Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou brilliantly stopping two.
Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi, born and raised in Madrid, scored the winning penalty.
More to follow.