You drop Cristiano Ronaldo and the man you pick instead of him best not miss. Gonçalo Ramos is 21. He made his international debut last month. Before Tuesday he had played only 36 minutes of international football. And yet within 17 minutes he had already scored more World Cup knockout goals than Ronaldo; by midway through the second half he had completed the first hat-trick of Qatar 2022. Fernando Santos could hardly have been more obviously vindicated. Ramos, emphatically, did not miss, setting up a quarter-final against Morocco.
Santos has the rumpled air of a man who has slept in his car. He could be Peter Falk playing Columbo. He is not a man who has ever willingly done anything interesting, so when the day before the game he criticised Ronaldo for his shushing gesture after being substituted against South Korea, it felt significant. Ronaldo himself claimed it was directed at the South Korean forward Cho Gue-sung, who was trying to chivvy him off the pitch but, given similar situations at Manchester United, the widespread assumption in Portugal seems to be that it was aimed at his critics, of whom there are a growing number. A poll in the sports daily A Bola suggested 70% of readers thought he should not start against the Swiss.
Written by Jonathan Wilson at Lusail Stadium
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/dec/06/portugal-switzerland-world-cup-last-16-match-report under the title “Ramos hits hat-trick as Portugal thrash Switzerland 6-1 after Ronaldo dropped”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.