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World Cup 2022: Portugal beats Switzerland in the round of 16, Cristiano Ronaldo has to watch for a long time


Against Switzerland, Cristiano Ronaldo saw his Portuguese play the best football in a long time – from the bench. His successor scored a hat-trick, defender Pepe broke a World Cup record.

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In front of Gonçalo Ramos, Miroslav Klose scored three goals in his first World Cup starting eleven in 2002

Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Time for GR26:

The surprise of the match was Gonçalo Ramos when his shirt number 26 appeared on the starting line-up sheet.

The 21-year-old Benfica striker had never played for his country before.

Well, in Portugal's first knockout game at the World Cup in Qatar, Ramos got his chance - and needed less than 17 minutes to justify his place in the starting XI.

João Félix put the ball through and Ramos turned in the penalty area.

He actually didn't have any space to finish, Fabian Schär blocked the way to the far corner, Yann Sommer watched at the near post.

But the Swiss keeper was able to be careful as he wanted: Ramos thundered the ball up into the corner with his left so confidently that Sommer could hardly raise his arms and could only watch the ball in disbelief.

The result:

A lavish, red-green football festival ended with a 6:1 (2:0) for Portugal against hopelessly overwhelmed Swiss.

Surprise team Morocco awaits in the quarter-finals on Saturday (4 p.m.).

Read the match report here.

His days seem numbered:

In the preliminary round, veteran coach Fernando Santos tried it: Ronaldo into the lead, then pass after pass to the old master, he will score.

It had worked that way for about two decades.

But at the age of 37, the superstar seems past its zenith.

Nine shots, one penalty goal, that's the result of the group stage.

So traditionalist Santos put the big "CR7" on the bench, where Ronaldo sat at European Championship or World Cup tournaments last in 2008 - also against Switzerland.

The record goalscorer followed the game from the sidelines and only the photojournalists followed Ronaldo.

A frenzy of claret and green:

Santos' unpopular decision was to prove spot on.

Without the one target player to focus on, Portugal unleashed a rarely seen unpredictability and enthusiasm.

Félix, hardly in demand at Atlético Madrid, danced lightly through the midfield.

Bruno Fernandes pulled the strings and Diogo Costa, the Portuguese Seleção's Swiss-born goalkeeper, was given little to do.

4-0 after 55 minutes – only Brazil had presented themselves in a similarly exhilarating manner in the round of 16.

Ronaldo's demotion, at least in this game, was tantamount to releasing a handbrake.

Respect for age:

Another oldie underlined that this very demotion was not a change with a mallet, but simply a rational sporting decision: defender Pepe celebrates his 40th birthday in February.

And he still holds the Portuguese defense together.

Against Switzerland, he headed home from a Fernandes corner at full speed.

Pepe is now the oldest player to score in a World Cup knockout game.

And the Swiss?

It was a bitter afternoon for the Confederates, and Manuel Akanji's consolation goal after a corner kick (58th) didn't change anything.

Almost every chance resulted in a goal, Switzerland had last conceded more goals at a World Cup in 1954 – in a 5:7 against Austria.

A bit of show:

In the 73rd minute the time had come: Félix left the field and Ronaldo stepped in.

And it would have been so nice and forgiving if the veteran had also scored his goal.

But the short appearance didn't offer more than a little nostalgia: A wide-legged free kick into the wall, a goal in front of which the once world's best attacker had lurked about two meters offside.

A night after which it came as no surprise that Saudi Al-Nassr FC are said to be the most serious bidders for the free international star.

The Golden Boys:

Ronaldo is still awaiting his first goal in a World Cup knockout game.

After Lionel Messi was able to make up for this this season and then Kylian Mbappé showed how easy such goals can look in big games, Ronaldo was loudly accused of the flaw on social media.

The counter-argument was that Ronaldo had far fewer talented teammates in his heyday.

And indeed: With Félix (23 years old), Ramos (21 years old) and Rafael Leão (23 years old), a golden generation seems to be replacing the golden individual Ronaldo.

A hint of 2016:

However, it would not be the first time that Ronaldo has celebrated a great success as a spectator: Ronaldo, who injured himself in the final at the time, already saw the 2016 European Championship title from the sidelines.

This year the competition is much bigger, but Portugal itself is playing better than ever.

If you defeat exhausted Moroccans on Saturday (4 p.m.), there are "only" France or England between the Portuguese and the finals.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-12-06

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