Sunday, January 29, 2023

Portugal 6-1 Switzerland: What Are The Main Talking Points As The European Giants Put On A World Cup Clinic In Qatar?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, World Cup 7 Dec 2022

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While some might have felt that Portugal faced a tough test on Tuesday night, the European giants put on a rampant display as they breezed their way to the World Cup quarter-finals.

Although many of the pre-game headlines might have been stolen by Cristiano Ronaldo’s omission, Portugal put in arguably the best performance from this winter’s tournament.

Although the former European champions might have signed off their Group H campaign with a last-gasp 2-1 loss against South Korea last week, Fernando Santos’ men came roaring back here.

With 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos making real World Cup history as he bagged a stunning hat-trick on the biggest night of his young career, goals from Pepe, Raphaël Guerreiro and Rafael Leão clinched an iconic win for the Navigators.

While Switzerland might have left Qatar with a consolation strike as Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji poked home from close range just before the hour mark, it was a nightmare display from the Rossocrociati.

On a night when Portugal cruised their way to the World Cup’s quarter-finals with a real statement, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

Goncalo Ramos – Remember the name

While it might have been a certain five-time Ballon d’Or winner who had been the key talking point prior to Tuesday’s showdown, it was another Portuguese attacker who rightfully stole all of the headlines in Qatar.

Although Benfica’s starlet might have been as surprised as many to be given the leading role here, Ramos put on a remarkable display as he wrote his name in the World Cup history books.

Opening the scoring with a thunderous effort after just 17 minutes and putting on a real clinic, Ramos became the first player at this year’s tournament to bag a World Cup hat-trick in the Middle East.

Becoming the youngest scorer of a World Cup hat-trick in over six decades, Ramos will now find his stock at an all-time high and has certainly handed Santos’ side a new dimension.

While the 21-year-old might have only been making his first international start for the former European champions, he caused Switzerland a string of issues and put in a real Man of the Match display here.

Despite some back home feeling that Ramos was a shock inclusion in Santos’ squad this winter, the Benfica starlet is riding a real wave.

Portugal shine amidst more Ronaldo controversy

Although Santos might be hoping that it will be his side’s stellar 6-1 romp will be that steals all of the headlines on Tuesday, the 68-year-old will know that Ronaldo’s omission will be a major talking point.

Appearing to have had an altercation with Portugal’s veteran boss after their late 2-1 loss against South Korea last week, many were left stunned to see the now-former Manchester United talisman sat on the bench.

However, while Ronaldo might be at the heart of another controversy following last month’s infamous interview with Piers Morgan, there is no doubt that Portugal found top gear with their record-breaking skipper sat on the sidelines.

With Ramos’ hat-trick proving that Santos got the big call right on Tuesday night, it will be interesting to see what Ronaldo’s role will be over the next fortnight.

Still looking for a new club after completing a messy divorce from the Premier League giants, the likes of Bruno Fernandes also once again impressed outside of Ronaldo’s shadow.

Although the five-time Ballon d’Or winner might still be one of football’s most iconic stars, it appears that Portugal are better suited without their MVP.

Can Portugal really go all the way?

Although Portugal might have opened this year’s World Cup tipped as a dark horse pick, there is no doubt that the former European champions made a real statement on Tuesday night.

Watching fellow European giants Spain come crashing out earlier in the day after a stunning penalties defeat at the hands of Morocco, Santos’ squad were simply hoping to avoid another World Cup banana skin here.

However, with Ramos spearheading a Portugal performance that is certainly one of the most compelling from this winter’s tournament, the Navigators also sent a message to the rest of world football’s elite.

Desperate to finally get their hands on a maiden world crown on December 18th, Santos’ high-flying squad will now turn their attention to a quarter-final showdown against Morocco this weekend.

Really setting their knockout stage bar and showing just what they’re capable of in Qatar, Portugal could be smelling a path to make real history this month.

With the likes of Belgium, Spain, Uruguay and Germany already crashing out and returning home early, Santos’ squad are now priced at 13/2 with 888sport to go all the way this winter.

Match Report:

Portugal: Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro, Silva, Carvalho, Otavio, Fernandes, Ramos, Felix

Subs: Leao, Vitnha, Ronaldo, Neves, Horta

Switzerland: Sommer, Rodriguez, Schar, Akanji, Xhaka, Freuler, Sow, Vargas, Fernandes, Embolo, Shaqiri

Subs: Zakaria, Seferovic, Comert, Okafor, Jashari

Goals: Portugal: Ramos (17′, 51′, 67′), Pepe (33′), Guerreiro (55′), Leao (90+2′) – Switzerland: Akanji (58′)

Yellow Cards: Comert, Schar

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Cesar Ramos

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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