Substitute Gonzalo Ramos scored a hat-trick in Cristiano Ronaldo’s starting XI as Portugal cruised to a comfortable 6-1 win over Switzerland in the pre-quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup here on Tuesday. The 21-year-old Ramos, who made his Portugal debut last month, made his country’s first starting XI and showed glimpses of the game Ronaldo is famous for. Ramos opened the scoring in the 17th minute and then added two more goals in the 51st and 67th minutes.
Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute but before that the team was almost certain of victory with a 5–1 lead. Pepe (33rd), Rafael Guerreiro (55th) and Rafael Liao (90+2) also scored for Portugal. Manuel Akanji scored the only goal for Switzerland in the 58th minute. Portugal has made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the third time. The team had earlier managed to reach the last eight in 1966 and 2006 as well. The team will face Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday, who defeated Spain 3-0 in the penalty shoot-out in the pre-quarter-finals.
Both the teams were goalless after regulation and extra time. Portugal coach Fernando Santos now has to decide whether to keep Ramos in the next match or bring back Ronaldo, the top goalscorer in men’s international football and one of the game’s greatest players. Ronaldo made some good moves after coming on the field. He also shot past Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer but it was offside. After the match, the Portuguese players stayed on the field to greet the fans present in the stadium.
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Ronaldo however walked out. He will probably be worried about his career as he parted ways with Manchester United in the middle of the World Cup and is yet to be linked with any club. Ronaldo’s ouster came a day after coach Santos expressed his displeasure with the striker’s attitude after being transferred for the team’s final group match against South Korea. When Ronaldo made his Portugal debut in 2003, Ramos was just two years old. He scored the first hat-trick in this year’s World Cup.