January 25, 2023

LUSAIL, Qatar — Portugal reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 16 years with an impressive 6-1 victory over Switzerland, despite coach Fernando Santos deciding to bench Cristiano Ronaldo.

– Report: Portugal thrash Switzerland, book QF date with Morocco

Ronaldo’s replacement, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, more than justified his selection with a hat-trick, while veteran defender Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and substitute Rafael Leao also found the net. Manuel Akanji got the goal from Switzerland, although it was no more than a consolation.

– World Cup 2022: News and Features | Scheme

Portugal’s win secures a quarter-final tie with Morocco, who beat Spain on penalties earlier on Tuesday, and after such a convincing round-of-16 victory will see them increase their chances of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2006. to cherish.

GO TO: Player Ratings | Best/Worst Performers | Highlights and notable moments | Quotes after the game | Key Stats | Upcoming fixtures

Quick response

1. Fernando Santos gets big calls as Portugal makes a huge statement

Portuguese manager Fernando Santos made two big decisions with his team selection and he couldn’t have asked for a better end result. Arguably most surprising was Cristiano Ronaldo’s suspension for Ramos – the latter had played just 33 minutes before kick-off – but the Benfica striker repaid his confidence with three goals, the first of which was a shot on target. corner kick from a corner so tight that there was a moment of stunned silence in the stadium before Portuguese fans realized it had gone in.

It went almost unnoticed amid the noise surrounding Ronaldo, but Santos also dropped Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo and instead chose Diogo Dalot at right back and Guerreiro at left. And as if Ramos, just two years old when Ronaldo made his international debut, hadn’t done enough to justify Santos’ management, Dalot provided the assist for Portugal’s third goal – scored by Ramos – before Guerreiro scored the fourth. .

It was an attacking performance that looked more fluid and free in Ronaldo’s absence, one that could also make Portugal true contenders for the trophy. World Cup winners usually get a few quirks along the way too and in a strange twist, Portugal’s second goal was scored by 39-year-old Pepe, who probably wouldn’t have even played had Danilo Pereira not suffered a rib injury in the first game against Ghana.

2. Ronaldo will play a supporting role for the rest of the World Cup

Ronaldo, who sat on the bench at a World Cup for the first time in his career, will soon realize that it was a lose-lose situation. Either Switzerland would win and he would give up his fifth and final World Cup, or Portugal would go through and Santos probably wouldn’t change a winning team for their quarter-final against Morocco on Saturday.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

Santos can’t drop Ramos after scoring a hat-trick and even if he hadn’t made such a great individual impact, Portugal still looked much smoother without Ronaldo in the team. Ramos’ completion was clinical, but he also chased and pressed from the front, constantly looking to get behind the Swiss defenders. When Ronaldo came on in the 73rd minute, his teammates immediately started looking to get the ball wide and throw crosses into the penalty area so that Ronaldo could win in the air.

Even at 37 years old, Ronaldo is still a great athlete and an incredible goalscorer, so much so that you wouldn’t bet on him playing against Morocco and grabbing a winner. But its role is now that of an impact substitute. It can still be vital in tight, tense knockout matches, but Santos can only hope he takes it without complaint.

3. Heavy defeat not really reflective of the World Cup in Switzerland

Switzerland hoped for a bigger step forward in Qatar after winning their first knockout since 1938 at the last European Championships, but on the basis of this World Cup, they are not far from regularly reaching the last eight of major tournaments.

Their qualifying campaign was based on a defense that conceded only twice in eight games, but they were undone here by a piece of magic from Ramos before falling asleep on a set piece to fall behind 2-0. It was always going to be a long game. way back from there, although in reality they fell apart in the second half.

It didn’t help that, especially in the first half, they couldn’t get the ball to Breel Embolo as the Monaco striker had just 13 touches in the first 45 minutes.

Switzerland has a popular coach in Murat Yakin and while he will soon need to refresh the squad — goalkeeper Yann Sommer and striker Xherdan Shaqiri are 33 and 31 respectively — he has players like Embolo (25) and Manuel Akanji (27) who will be the important parts of the next cycle.

The Swiss have not reached a World Cup quarter-final since 1954 and, despite falling short this time, they hope to end that run soon. Coming through a group that also included Brazil, Serbia and Cameroon should be viewed as a positive, despite what happened in Lusail on Tuesday.

Player Ratings

Portugal (4-3-3): Diogo Costa 7; Diogo Dalot 8, Pepe 7, Ruben Dias 7, Raphael Guerreiro 8; Otavio 7, William Carvalho 7, Bernardo Silva 8; Bruno Fernandes 8, Goncalo Ramos 9, Joao Felix 8.
Subs: Ricardo Horta 6, Cristiano Ronaldo 6, Vitinha 6, Ruben Neves 6, Rafael Leao 7.

Switzerland (3-1-4-2): Yann Summer 6; Manuel Akanji 6, Fabian Schar 4, Ricardo Rodriguez 6; Granite Xhaka 5; Edimilson Fernandes 6, Djibril Sow 5, Remo Freuler 5, Ruben Vargas 5; Xherdan Shaqiri 5, Breel Embolo 5.
Subs: Eray Comert 5, Denis Zakaria 6, Haris Seferovic 6, Noah Okafor 6, Ardon Jashari 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Goncalo Ramos, Portugal.
Although Ronaldo only made his international debut in November, he scored an elegant hat-trick.

WORST: Fabian Schar, Switzerland
He was booked for a terribly late challenge on Joao Felix before being substituted at half-time.

Highlights and notable moments

Ramos was a constant attacking threat for Portugal and had a chance to score a superb hat-trick midway through the second half.

Ominously for Portuguese manager Santos, perhaps the biggest cheer of the evening came when sulking superstar Ronaldo finally came off the bench with the result beyond any doubt.

After the game: what the players and managers said

Available soon…

Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

— This is the second time that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have made it to the quarter-finals of a World Cup alive; in 2006, Argentina was eliminated in the quarter-finals and Portugal finished fourth

Gonçalo Ramos (POR): 3 goals (17′, 51′, 67′); first hat-trick of the 2022 World Cup. He is also the second youngest man to score a hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup KO Stage match (21 years, 169 days) after Pelé (17 years, 244 days in the 1958 semi-final) and the fourth Portuguese man to scored a hat-trick in a World Cup match

Switzerland: winless (0-7-1 WLD) in 8 consecutive World Cup knockout matches since only such win came in 1934 Round of 16 against Netherlands

Switzerland: tied for biggest defeat in a World Cup match (lost 5–0 in the 1966 FIFA World Cup to West Germany)

Cristiano Ronaldo (PO): 22nd career FIFA World Cup match, tied for 5th (with 3 other players, including Diego Maradona) on most FIFA WC apps list

Next one

Portugal: The huge win means that Fernando Santos & Co. will now prepare for their quarterfinal game against Morocco next Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium (10 a.m. ET).

Switzerland: They go home.

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