When the Portugal versus Switzerland lineups came out before the match, the main talking point was the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting eleven. Interestingly, he had started 18 World Cup games but had never scored in a knockout match. In fact, Pepe has scored 2 more goals that CR7. In a survey by Portugal’s sports newspaper, A Bola, 70% of the people surveyed did not want him in the starting XI. Fernando Santos had made a big call. The big question was whether he would regret his decision?
From the first whistle, the Portuguese attacked with freedom and determination. Joao Felix was at the heart of most of their best work and he slipped a pass to Gonçalo Ramos to score spectacularly from an tight angle in the 17th minute. The dominance continued and it was the oldest player to play in a World Cup match, Pepe, who doubled the lead with a thumping header before the half was done.
The second half saw Gonçalo Ramos single handedly finish off the Swiss with his second goal, providing an assist for Raphael Guerriero’s goal, and then he scored his third goal to finish off his hat trick. The three goals happened in seven minutes and the Swiss were playing like they were on the plane back to Geneva.
Switzerland did get one back when Manuel Akanji turned in a corner. The evening was finished off with the call from the crowd for an appearance by Ronaldo. Fernando Santos sent on the legend and allowed the game to play itself out. However, it was Rafael Leao who scored a stunning strike to finish off the scoring for Portugal.
The history of this game was summarized in one word; even. In the end it was anything but that in the control of the game and the outcome. Portugal were dominant and Switzerland left the game with a consolation goal and not much else. Portugal left with even more reasons to feel confident about the rest of the tournament and certainly their next match against the surprising quarter finalists from Morocco.
The game will be remembered for the hat trick which was scored by Gonçalo Ramos. The young Benfica striker is unknown to most but is currently the leading scorer in the Portuguese Primeira Liga with 9 goals in 11 games. Everton fans will have been watching enviously as we struggle to find goals this season.
And now it is over to Fernando Santos who has another big call to make on Saturday!
We now have a full set of fixtures for the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals!
Croatia vs Brazil: Friday, 9 December, 7:00 am PT / 10:00 am ET / 1:00 pm GMT
Netherlands vs Argentina: Friday, 9 December, 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm GMT
Morocco vs Portugal: Saturday, 10 December, 7:00 am PT / 10:00 am ET / 1:00 pm GMT
England vs France: Saturday, 10 December, 11:00 am PT / 2:00 p.m ET / 7:00 pm GMT