Portugal 6-1 Switzerland: Ronaldo replacement Ramos offers glimpse of the future with landmark hat-trick in thumping win

The 21-year-old scored a thumping opener before a close-range finish and wonderful dink capped a memorable treble as Fernando Santos' men sent a real statement of intent to the rest of the tournament contenders.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 7 December 2022 - 1.43am
Goncalo Ramos celebrates scoring against Switzerland

Goncalo Ramos announced himself after replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting XI with a hat-trick

Cristiano Ronaldo's replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a sensational hat-trick on his first World Cup start - the first player to do that since Miroslav Klose in 2002 - as Portugal laid down a marker against Switzerland and booked a quarter-final on Saturday with Morocco

The big news before kick-off was the demotion of Ronaldo to the bench after the 37-year-old's tetchy reaction to being substituted in the defeat to South Korea.

Fernando Santos elected to play Ramos down the middle and inside 18 minutes, the Benfica striker produced a moment of brilliance, receiving Joao Felix's pass in the box before swivelling to evade Fabian Schar and blasting past a stunned Yann Sommer at his near post. 

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It was very much one-way traffic as attacking midfielder Otavio and Ramos had further shots on goal, although Switzerland's first decent effort did come when Breel Embolo was held by Ruben Dias and Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick was turned round the post by Diogo Costa. 

However, it wasn't long before Santos' men doubled their advantage, with the only man older than Ronaldo in the squad getting the goal. 

After Schar had flicked a tempting Felix cross behind for a corner with Ramos lurking, Bruno Fernandes hung up an inviting delivery and 39-year-old Pepe powered home. 

The Porto centre-back is now the second-oldest World Cup scorer after Cameroon's Roger Milla, but Murat Yakin's side did threaten when Costa's unconvincing save from Edimilson Fernandes squirted to Remo Freuler, but the Nottingham Forest midfielder couldn't divert the ball in, with Diogo Dalot back on the line to clear. 

At the other end, Ramos was close to making it 3-0 as Bruno Fernandes threaded an exquisite through-ball to him, but the youngster was denied by a stretching Sommer. 

Pepe is now the second-oldest World Cup scorer in history after Cameroon's Roger Milla

The Portugal attacks continued unabated after the break and with Ronaldo warming up on the sidelines, Ramos found the back of the net again, positioned perfectly in the box to squeeze the ball through Sommer's legs from Dalot's driven cross. 

Switzerland didn't have time to catch their breath before the Navigators, as Portugal are sometimes known, sumptuously carved their way through their beleaguered opponents' backline once more. 

Otavio's cheeky backheel released Felix, who streaked clear and fed Ramos to square for the advancing Guerreiro to thump home for a goal reminiscent of Brazil's devastating counterattacking the previous evening. 

To Switzerland's credit, they refused to allow their heads to drop and Shaqiri's corner glanced off Joao Cancelo's head into the path of Manchester City team-mate Manuel Akanji, who bundled home. 

The four-goal lead was quickly restored however, and in poetic fashion, as Costa's lump upfield was headed on by Bruno Fernandes to Bernando Silva, who laid the ball off for Felix to slip in Ramos, with the heir to Ronaldo's throne majestically dinking over Sommer. 

Raphael Guerreiro's thumping finish rounded off a gorgeous team move for Portugal's fourth

Ramos was duly replaced in a slew of changes as Ronaldo - whose named the Portugal fans had earlier been chanting defeaningly - entered the fray, and while Embolo's overhead kick flashed wide, the game was well and truly over, if it hadn't been before.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had the ball in the net in the closing stages - only to be flagged offside - before Rafael Leao danced down the wing and left Sommer rooted to the spot with a bewitching curling effort into the far corner. 

But despite brilliant displays all over the field in green and maroon, the night belonged to Ramos, who is surely a shoo-in to be his team's talisman for the rest of the tournament, however long that is.