The game: 6-1
Portugal won the last ticket for the quarter-finals of the World Cup, crushing Switzerland (6-1), this Tuesday evening, at the Lusail stadium. Preferred to Cristiano Ronaldo, on the bench at kick-off, Gonçalo Ramos (21) splashed the meeting with all his class, scoring a hat-trick (17th, 51st, 67th).
Served by João Félix in front of a very passive Fabian Schär, the young Benfica striker ideally launched the Portuguese by sending, after a control from the right, a heavy shot from the left in the skylight of Yann Sommer (17th). After an alert on a direct free kick from Xherdan Shaqiri coming close to the post of Diogo Costa (30th), Fernando Santos’ men doubled the score from a corner. Arrived launched between Schär and Manuel Akanji, Pepe, inducted captain in the absence of CR7, scored with a powerful header (32nd) and became, at 39 years and 283 days, the oldest scorer in a knockout match in phase World Cup final.
If Murat Yakin put an end to Schär’s ordeal at the break, his replacement Eray Evin Cömert was surprised in the 51st minute by the elusive Ramos who beat him to cut a cross from Diogo Dalot at the near post and widen the gap (3- 0). The meeting turned into a demonstration, like the fourth but in Portuguese concluded by Raphaël Guerreiro at the conclusion of a sumptuous collective movement (55th).
The reduction of the score of Akanji (58th) on the lookout at the far post on a Swiss corner extended from the head to the first post by… Ramos proving to be anecdotal, because Ramos finished his recital, by offering himself a triple, with a small dive of the right on a new service from João Félix (67th). Rafael Leão put an end to the Swiss ordeal with a curling shot from the right (90th + 2), finishing to disgust Sommer.
The fact of the match: Ronaldo on the bench
Cristiano Ronaldo had not been substituted in a World Cup match since 2006 and a last gameless group meeting against Mexico (2-1) where he did not come into play. Friday, the Portuguese coach Fernando Santos had publicly cropped his five-time Ballon d’Or who had little taste of being replaced in the 65th minute against South Korea (1-2).
It was as a spectator in a yellow bib, first sitting on the bench and then warming up along the sideline, that Ronaldo witnessed his teammates’ first five goals, showing much more enthusiasm after Pepe’s goal than on the hat-trick of Gonçalo Ramos. Claimed by the public at the hour mark, Ronaldo finally entered in the 73rd minute, Pepe giving him the armband. After a direct free kick in the wall (76th), CR7, launched deep, also found the net but his was regularly refused for a flagrant offside (84th). Of the 7 World Cup knockout matches he has participated in, Ronaldo has still not scored (26 shots attempted).
Since losing to Germany (0-4) in Brazil in 2014, Portugal have scored in each of their last 10 World Cup finals matches (22 goals in total).