Goncalo Ramos made headlines even before he took to the pitch for Portugal against Switzerland on December 6, replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in manager Fernando Santos’ starting XI.
Ronaldo led his team out of the tunnel with the captain’s armband in all three of their group-stage games in Qatar. However, he was substituted around the 65th minute against South Korea on December 2.
Many thought it was to preserve him for the impending last-16 tie against Switzerland. As he came off against the Asian nation, Ronaldo was seen making a ‘shushing’ gesture towards a South Korean player.
Santos publicly slammed the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward for his actions. He hinted that the Portuguese captain could be dropped from the starting XI against the Schweizer Nati.
Goncalo Ramos is the youngest man to score a hat trick in a FIFA World Cup knock-out match after Pele
Ramos took his place and went on to score a terrific hat-trick in his team’s 6-1 win against manager Murat Yakin’s side. After the full-time whistle, Arsenal legend Ian Wright complimented the SL Benfica striker for his exploits.
He told ITV Sports (h/t HITC):
“He played very well, of course, scored a hat-trick, and he’s taken all the headlines. His hold-up play and everything was brilliant. The first goal set the stool for him. He scored that goal which he was not meant to score.”
“He has hit it so well and so early. I like the near-post move (for the second goal). This is pure class (third goal) because he’s in total control. He has had good touches of the football. The goalkeeper can’t get there and he has dinked it beautifully. It’s brilliant.”
What next for Cristiano Ronaldo after Goncalo Ramos’ heroics for Portugal vs Switzerland?
First World Cup KO stage hat-trick since 1990.
Gonçalo Ramos, take a bow.
Ramos was sensational for Portugal against Switzerland. The first goal came in the 17th minute when he smashed the ball into the postage stamp area of the goal with his left foot from inside the box.
His second goal came six minutes into the second half when he provided a simple finish to a wonderful low cross from Diogo Dalot. The hat trick was completed in the 67th minute with a beautiful chipped finish over the rushing Yann Sommer.
Ramos was taken off six minutes later for Ricardo Horta.
Ronaldo was substituted into the game around the same time but had no meaningful impact on the game.
Santos would have a serious selection dilemma for the quarter-final tie against Morocco. It would raise some serious questions if he benches Ramos after such a performance and Portugal don’t win.
However, he could risk a potential backroom tiff with Ronaldo if he continues to bench him.
The former Manchester United man, after all, did not take kindly to being benched under manager Erik ten Hag this season.
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