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FIFA World Cup Portugal vs Switzerland (6-1)


Mary C
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FIFA World Cup Portugal vs Switzerland (6-1)

Cristiano Ronaldo was benched by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for the last 16 matches against Switzerland, and he was rewarded with a hat-trick from stand-in Goncalo Ramos and an incredible team performance. 

It was first time 31 games dating back to 2008 that Ronaldo had not started in a major tournament, and Santos expressed his displeasure at the gestures made by Ronaldo after he was substituted in the last group match against South Korea.  

To put it gently, Portugal made light if the 37-year-old’s absence when Ramos, a striker of Benfica, scored the first triple of the tournament in his maiden international start to help his team advance to the quarterfinals against Morocco after defeating Spain on penalties.  

Ramos opened the scoring for Portugal after 17 minutes with a shot past Switzerland goalkeeper Jan Sommer at the near post. Pepe, a seasoned 39-year-old defender, increased Portugal’s advantage in the 33rd minute by heading home Bruno Fernandes' corner. 

Six minutes after the break, Ramos effectively ended the game with a close-range swoop on a cross from Diogo Dalot, and four minutes later, Raphael Guerriero completed the sweeping play with a powerful goal. This continued the full dream debut. 

For Switzerland, Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji scored a goal, but Ramos immediately scored his third goal with a clever chip, prompting the Lusail Stadium audience to vocally demand Ronaldo’s introduction.  

Ramos the coach of Portugal, complied the with victory after Ronaldo entered amid thunderous cheers, but his teammates truly deserve all the praise for an excellent effort. Rafael Leao, 23, capped off an impressive performance by curling in the sixth goal after Ronaldo had the ball in the net but was adjudged to be offside. 

The spotlight and focus on the declining superstar at Lusail Stadium shone even more brightly in his direction as a result of Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence. After the national anthems, Ronaldo was surrounded by photographers in the dugout. He then received a pop star’s reception when he entered as a substitute amid 74 minutes, after a loud and lengthy chant for his introduction, especially form the locals who had travelled to see him in person. 

However, Ronaldo shouldn’t be the main focus. The side from Portugal, who had to play without the player who is presently looking for a new club after leaving Manchester United, appeared more dynamic, fluid and cohesive. Even without Ronaldo, Portugal has a talented team, and Ramos had an immediate effect with his goals, teamwork and movement. Rafaels Leao’s stunning late goal was another example of Portugal's promising future which scarcely appeared to be in the risk as they easily defeated Switzerland.  

Santos, the head coach of Portugal, is known to be a stern-looking man but a cunning businessman with a Euro 2016 victory to his name. He would have every right to smile after making the courageous but ultimately wise choice to exclude the domineering presence of his team. Portugal put up such a comprehensive show that Ronaldo will undoubtedly not start against Morocco in the forthcoming World Cup quarterfinal.  

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