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Goncalo Ramos starts for Ronaldo, nets hat trick for Portugal at World Cup

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Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards look ahead to Portugal's clash with Switzerland in the Round of 16 -- and agree that a deep Portuguese run requires Cristiano Ronaldo to come off the bench.

Goncalo Ramos scored a hat trick as he started over Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s65-1 win over Switzerland in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday.

Ramos also had an assist and Portugal mainstays Raphael Guerreiro, Raphael Leao, and Pepe also scored in the win. Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot, and Joao Felix all had assists for the clinical EURO 2016 champions.

WATCH PORTUGAL v SWITZERLAND FULL MATCH REPLAY

Man City’s Manuel Akanji scored off a Xherdan Shaqiri corner in the 57th minute to get the Swiss on the board.

The Portuguese will meet surprise package Morocco in the quarterfinals.

Switzerland beat Cameroon and Serbia to reach the Round of 16, while Portugal opened the tournament with a slim and thrilling 3-2 win over Ghana, then topping Uruguay 2-0 before falling 2-1 to South Korea in Al Rayyan.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Portugal vs Switzerland.


Portugal does Fernando Santos right, flashes title credentials

Pulling Cristiano Ronaldo out of the Starting XI for any reason is a gutsy move for a coach, but doing it for Portugal is even braver than doing it at a club.

But Fernando Santos did just that on Tuesday in a World Cup knockout round match, opting for a 21-year-old with just 33 minutes of national team playing time.

Goodness, did it work.

Portugal vs Switzerland

Goncalo Ramos stats from fotmob,com

The EURO-winning boss saw Santos score three times and set up a Raphael Guerreiro goal as Portugal steamrolled Switzerland and moved within two wins of a World Cup final.

Ramos scored a goal and an assist against Nigeria in his most extensive senior action for Portugal, but he had yet to start a match for Santos’ side.

Portugal has seven players on its squad from the team that won EURO and will now like its chances as the favorite against plucky and in-form Morocco. Then it would be England or France for a berth in the final.

Say what you will about Ronaldo not starting but he’s a heck of a player to come off the bench. Ruben Neves (9 mins),

Ruben Neves (3 mins) and Joao Cancelo (0 mins) were among the players who didn’t have to hit the pitch or do much more than stretch their legs.

There really isn’t a reason for Portugal to stop dreaming big.


Stars of the show

Goncalo Ramos

Raphael Guerreiro

Bruno Fernandes

Joao Felix


Goncalo Ramos goal video: Portugal blasts off

Pepe goal video


How to watch Portugal vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Dec. 6Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, LusailTV channels en Español: TelemundoStreaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Portugal’s complete team is something to behold as Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves, and Bruno Fernandes give the side a robust spine that can be topped just as robustly by Cristiano Ronaldo when the great player is at his best in terms of defying the age 37.

The Swiss have seen Breel Embolo as a threat up top but the backs and midfield have so many tough nuts to crack with Granit Xhaka operating atop Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Follow @NicholasMendola