Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick as Portugal defeated Switzerland 6-1 to go to the World Cup quarter-finals.
Ramos started in place of Cristiano Ronaldo and contributed to four goals.
Pepe scored Portugal’s second goal in Ronaldo’s absence, and Ramos also set up Raphael Guerreiro, with Manuel Akanji’s consolation for Switzerland before to Ramos’ hat-trick and Rafael Leao’s late stunner a minor footnote.
Ramos’ opener was very out of character for such a boring start.
After taking a touch, Ramos blasted a rocket of a left-footed strike into the top-left corner from a tight angle after Joao Felix passed into the left side of the area.
Just before the half-hour mark, a fingertip Diogo Costa stop from Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick kept Portugal ahead, and three minutes later, Pepe headed in Bruno Fernandes’ corner.
Any prospect of a comeback was quickly dashed by two goals early in the second half.
Ramos initially turned in Diogo Dalot’s low cross before teeing up Guerreiro unselfishly.
After a Portugal defender mistakenly flicked on a corner, Akanji punched in at the back post, but the margin was four again shortly after, Ramos’ impudent dink over Yann Sommer completing a remarkable triple.
He was eventually replaced by Ronaldo, who had a late goal disallowed for offside, but Portugal were not finished, with Leao burying a stunning curler in stoppage time.
Ramos is in charge.
This was one of the most devastating full-fledged World Cup debuts ever seen. Ramos took six shots and scored three of them, while also displaying excellent awareness to set up Guerreiro.
His hat-trick made him the first player since Miroslav Klose in 2002 to score three goals in his debut World Cup appearance.
Fernandes delivers once again.
Fernandes, a Manchester United player, is having a fantastic tournament. In the group stages, no player had more goal involvements than him (four), and he was a creative nuisance once again here, earning another assist from a team-high three vital passes.
Important Opta Facts
- Portugal has reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the third time, following 2006 and 1966, breaking a record of five straight knockout games without a win (D1 L4).
- Switzerland has failed to advance from the round of 16 in all five of their World Cup matches, surrendering six goals in a knockout stage match for the second time, following a 7-5 quarter-final defeat to Austria in 1954.
- This was Portugal’s largest ever World Cup knockout victory, with six goals scored outside of the group stages for the first time.
- Gonçalo Ramos became Portugal’s second youngest World Cup goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo (21y 132d in June 2006), as well as the first player since Miroslav Klose in 2002 to score a hat-trick on his first World Cup start.
What comes next?
After shocking Spain, Portugal will face Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday. The competition in Switzerland is concluded.