FIFA: Powerful Portugal smashes Switzerland out 6-1text_fields
Doha: Powerful Portugal, though without Christiano Ronaldo, kicked Switzerland out of the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar, scorring 6 against 1 at Lusail Stadium here on Tuesday.
Portugal thus stormed into quarters and is all set to take on Morocco there on Saturday, December 10.
Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos, who replaced Ronaldo, made a hat-trick in the 17th, 51st and 67th minute and thus registered the first hat-trick in the tournament.
In the absence of Ronaldo, Pepe was honoured with the captain's armband. He scored in the 33rd minute, while Raphael Guerreiro was in the 55th minute.
Switzerland pulled one back in the 58th minute, with Manuel Akanji scoring a consolation goal.
Thereafter, Portugal brought in Ronaldo in the 73rd minute as a substitute, much to the roar of the crowd, but he could not add his name to the scorer's list, instead, it was Rafael Leao who added a sixth one in the injury stoppage time to complete a resounding win
Portugal meant business in the last 16 ties, and the absence of Ronaldo in the starting eleven had no effect on the level of performance. Using the two defenders on the wings as an attacking option, Portugal took the attack into the rival camp and with Joao Felix serving as a perfect link between the defence and offence.
Felix was not afraid to move deep in Switzerland with his dribbling skills and also had the foresight to slice open the defence with his prodding runs in the rival half. He also fell back and also showed his defending skills along with his offensive ones.
The man was everywhere. He was orchestrating play from deep in the pitch, making darting runs in from the wings and has been dragging Swiss players out of position all night. They could not cope with his movement. Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva also pulled the strings in midfield and supplemented Felix's work.
After the much-attacking play, Portugal opened the scoring with a gem of a goal from Ramos, who beat Switzerland keeper Yann Sommer with a thunderbolt. He received the ball with his back towards the goal, took a touch to turn and let fly, and it took off with incredible venom and flew into the top corner, 1-0.
Ramos, who had three international goals before going into the match having scored his first goal for his country in a November 17 friendly against Nigeria, where Portugal clinched a 4-0 win, scored with just 17 minutes on the pitch.
Ramos, who plays in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, has been in terrific form this season, scoring 14 goals and six assists for his club this season across all competitions and is also the top scorer in the league, with nine goals in 11 appearances.
Portugal added a second one through 39-year-old Pepe, who finished off the set piece with a towering header from a corner taken by Bruno Fernandes to double the lead, 2-0.
In the second half, Portugal continued to draw Switzerland in circles, and it took them six minutes into the second half to make it 3-0.
Ramos, a product of Benfica's youth academy, scored his second one of the night as he met a hard, low cross of Dalot and darted in to guide it at the far post for Portugal's third, 3-0.
Defender Guerreiro, who time and again joined the attacking flock, got his name on the goal scorers list, finishing off a move with another thunderbolt after setting up by Ramos, 4-0.
Three minutes later, Akanji made it 5-1, pulling one back for the Swiss, tapping home a corner at the far post, which travelled above everyone's head and ended at the feet of the Swiss striker, 4-1.
Ramos added his personal third catching the Swiss defence napping as he latched on to a pass from Felix inside the box and chipped over the onrushing Sommer to make it 5-1.
Leao completed the tally with an injury-added goal for Portugal with another beauty of a goal, as he found space on the left wing, cut back and let fly from the corner of the box, with Sommer only able to see it fly over him into a goal.