A benched Cristiano Ronaldo watched his replacement, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, step in and deliver the World Cup tournament’s first hat trick as Portugal stormed to a crushing 6-1 victory over Switzerland.
The tepid early pace of the match on Tuesday transformed quickly as newcomer Ramos’s first goal opened the floodgates for the Portuguese side, with three more goals going unanswered by the Swiss before halftime.
The absence of Ronaldo seemed almost secondary as the team came together and exhibited a devastating unity, even with their superstar captain sitting on the bench.
Manuel Akanji scored beautifully for Switzerland in the 56th minute, but it was a lone bucket against a rising tide.
Ronaldo stepped onto the pitch in the 72nd minute to thunderous applause, later putting a powerful shot into the Swiss net that was ruled offside and disallowed.
The Portuguese now stride into the quarter-finals and will play giant-killers Morocco on December 10, 2022, at Al Thumama stadium.