Ronaldo dropped, Ramos scores 3 for Portugal at World Cup

Ronaldo dropped, Ramos scores 3 for Portugal at World Cup

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — A chant of “RONALDO! RONALDO!” swept the largest stadium in the World Cup, followed by loud jeers when fans realized their idol wasn’t coming onto the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo was actually sitting in the Portugal dugout, looking sullen and still wearing a substitute’s bib. And the guy who started in his place on Tuesday was about to score a hat trick.

After Ronaldo was dropped from the starting lineup following a bold appeal by Portugal manager Fernando Santos, Goncalo Ramos – the superstar striker’s unlikely replacement – became an instant star as he led the team to a 6 win -1 against Switzerland and in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. .

Ramos, a 21-year-old striker who only made his Portugal debut last month, demonstrated the kind of clinical finishing Ronaldo was once known for by scoring the opening goal in the 17th minute and adding others to the 51st and 67th.

No player had scored a hat trick in his first World Cup start since German striker Miroslav Klose in 2002.

“Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t think of being in the starting squad for the knockout stage,” said Ramos, an unheralded striker who plays for Benfica and counts Ronaldo as his idol football with Robert Lewandowski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

It was around the hour mark that fans at the 89,000-seater Lusail Stadium began to beg Santos to bring in Ronaldo, 37, and they got their wish in the 72nd minute. Portugal finished the game by then, with defenders Pepe and Raphael Guerreiro also scoring. Rafael Leao added another goal in stoppage time.

Ronaldo didn’t score – he still hasn’t made the knockout stage in any of his five World Cups – and after briefly celebrating with his team-mates after the final whistle, he left the pitch on his own , perhaps wondering where his career is going. from here.

He is currently without a club after leaving Manchester United midway through the World Cup, and he may no longer be his country’s starter.

The rest of the Portugal squad hung around to cheer their fans at one end of the stadium. A quarter-final match awaits against Morocco on Saturday and Santos must now decide whether to stay with Ramos or restore Ronaldo, the top scorer in men’s international football and one of the greatest players of all time.

Santos said it was a strategic decision to drop Ronaldo and not a disciplinary decision, after expressing his displeasure in his press conference the day before the match on Monday at the attitude of the striker after being substituted against South Korea in the team’s last group game.

“What we have to do is think about this team collectively,” Santos said, before talking about Ronaldo. “I will always consider him a very important player to have in the team.”

This could now be a substitute and an experienced leader in the dressing room rather than a starter.

Ramos was a surprise substitute – he had previously made just three substitute appearances for Portugal – and tried his luck.

Ramos, who was just 2 when Ronaldo made his Portugal debut in 2003, scored the first hat-trick at this year’s World Cup.

He launched an upward shot with his left foot inside the near post of Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer for the first goal, skillfully crossed Sommer’s legs from close range for the second, then ran to hit the keeper goal for his third.

Ronaldo was seen smiling as he warmed up at the side of the pitch after Ramos’ second goal.

“Cristiano, as captain, did what he always does,” Ramos said. “He helped and encouraged us, not only myself but also my colleagues.”

Ramos even got an assist, playing the ball for Guerreiro to score the fourth goal.

Ronaldo was sharp when he came in and even thought he had scored when he crossed and fired a low left-footed shot past Sommer. The goal was disallowed for offside, much to the annoyance of the fans – Portuguese or other countries – who came to see him play.

Switzerland’s only goal came in the 57th minute when Manuel Akanji tapped in at the far post after a corner kick.


Switzerland lost in the round of 16 for the third consecutive World Cup. The country has not reached the quarter-finals since hosting the event in 1954.


Pepe took over the captaincy from Ronaldo and became the oldest player to score in the World Cup knockout stage, at 39 years and 283 days.


Steve Douglas is on


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