Portugal reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup for just the second time since 1966 as Goncalo Ramos netted a sensational hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Switzerland.
The pre-match talk was centred on Cristiano Ronaldo being dropped to the bench, but that decision was soon vindicated as Ramos, his 21-year-old replacement up front, stole the show on his first international start.
He opened the scoring with a thumping finish past a stunned Yann Sommer, and two more followed after the break. The first a smart finish as he got across his man at the near post, before the hat-trick, the first of the tournament, was sealed with a delightful dink.
It was a statement performance from Portugal, who produced some of the best football of any side in the tournament so far, and they go into their quarter-final against Morocco, who produced a huge upset again Spain, as big favourites.
A powerful header from Pepe doubled the lead for Fernando Santos’ side before the break, and the fun continued into the second-half. Ramos’ flick made it three, before Raphael Guerreiro finished off a wonderful team move to extend the lead further.
Manuel Akanji pulled one back almost immediately for Switzerland, though it never looked like being anything other than a consolation for a side that once again have fallen at the last-16 hurdle.
Midway through the second-half Ramos got his third, even a brief VAR check unable to keep the smile off his face. Ronaldo came on for the final 20 minutes, much to the delight of the crowd, and he had the ball in the back of the net.
The offside flag was swiftly raised though, summing up a night on which he was very much second fiddle.
Rafael Leao’s stoppage-time strike very much did count, the winger chopping inside and curling a superb finish into the far corner to cap off a perfect night for Portugal.
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