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Monday, January 30, 2023

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Portugal sweeps Switzerland (6-1) and joins Morocco in quarter

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Portugal signed the card of the round of 16 against Switzerland. Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench at kick-off, it was his replacement Gonçalo Ramos who lit up the evening with a hat-trick. The Seleçao, which had not reached the quarter-finals of a World since 2006, will meet Morocco on Saturday in the position of favorite. Earlier on Tuesday, the “Atlas Lions” created a sensation by eliminating Spain on penalties (0-0, 3 tab to 0).

On the Portuguese side, the handover between generations could not have been more symbolic … or cruel for the fivefold Golden Ball Cristiano Ronaldo, who has never scored a single goal in a knockout match of the European Cup. world. Virtually unknown on the big stage of world football, Gonçalo Ramos had played in all and for all only 33 minutes in selection before this Tuesday evening, including twenty minutes in friendly.

A historic treble

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At 21, he entered the elite of World Cup hat-trick authors in a single evening, alongside giants like Pelé, Gerd Müller, or Just Fontaine. He even became the youngest author of a hat-trick in a knockout match since Pelé in 1958.

Was the decision to leave Ronaldo on the bench just a sporting choice? In any case, coach Fernando Santos had very badly accepted the gesture of humor of his star player when he was replaced in the 65th minute against South Korea in the group stage (2-1 defeat).

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“I didn’t really like it at all,” he grumbled to the press. Santos already had the opinion with him, a poll in Portugal having revealed that 70% of the fans did not want him to start against Switzerland.

Scorer at 39

Ronaldo, who is most likely playing his last World Cup at 37, finally came into play in the 74th minute, regaining his captain’s armband to the ovations of the public. But the score was already 5-1. And his goal in the 84th minute was canceled for an offside position.

Gonçalo Ramos’ first goal, from the 17th minute, is a marvel of overpowered shooting from a difficult angle. Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer was well placed at his first post, but the speed of the ball caught him off guard (1-0).

Little Swiss resistance

And if, in the battle of the midfield, Switzerland had an illusion for a time, they gave in a second time on a set piece half an hour into the game. This time, it was the veteran Pepe who is offered a superb headed goal from a corner, three months before his fortieth birthday (February 26).

After the break, Gonçalo Ramos doubled his bet by taking a cross at the near post (3-0, 51st), before the former Lorient player Raphaël Guerreiro almost repeated on the following action after a well-conducted collective counter (4-0, 55th).

After the anecdotal reduction of the score by Manuel Akanji (4-1, 58th), Ramos completed his dream evening by coming to beat Sommer closely after a slalom in the defense (5-1, 67th). Rafael Leao nailed the coffin in added time (6-1, 90th + 2).

Source: Europe1

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