FULL-TIME: Portugal 6-1 Switzerland
Morocco 0 (3) v Spain 0 (0) Morocco win on penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo is not a starter anymore and Portugal are a better side without him.
His power is diminishing and his younger teammates are just simply better options.
It’s the bitter pill the megastar is going to have to accept if his career is going to continue.
Ronaldo was benched for Portugal’s last 16 clash with Switzerland with Gonçalo Ramos called in to replace him.
It was a bold decision from the coach but the right one with the 21-year-old coming on and scoring a hat-trick on his World Cup debut that finished 6-1 in Portugal’s favour.
An incredible display from the entire Portuguese team however is once again being overshadowed by one man.
As the anthems were being sung, the world’s photography media had their backs to the starting 11 and focused solely on the man left out allegedly for sulking with the coach.
Portugal continue to be a storyline centred around Ronaldo and the narrative has to change.
No sooner had the final whistle gone and Portugal were assured of a quarter-final berth, Ronaldo had walked off the pitch, seemingly unwilling to celebrate with his teammates.
“When he was benched at Man United, he’s gone on, done an interview and left. Slammed the door,” Craig Foster said after the match.
“He did leave the field there, he had issues with Santos after the last game.
“The coach has come out, for the first time they’re coming out and challenging him saying that’s wrong. That never used to happen with Cristiano Ronaldo. That shows his power is
“I think it was reasonably obvious to everyone, including most of Portugal that he just wasn’t contributing as much and that what Ronaldo has to give now at club and national level is off the bench.”
SBS pundit Sarah Walsh echoed Foster’s sentiments: “Look, it’s hard to watch to be honest,” she said of Ronaldo’s demise.
“He’s been such a great for so long. You can just tell he doesn’t want to come off the bench.
“For me, there’s fascinating things that played out in the final ten minutes, where he was pressing, isolated press, turning around basically angry at his teammates for not pressing behind him and wanting to speed up the play when his team is winding down the match was hard to watch. He can finish like no other striker in the world.”
With 20 minutes to play, Ronaldo was called off the bench much to the delight of the crowd, but debate of his impact will no doubt continue for weeks and months to come.
There is a significant amount of truth to the statement that Portugal play better without Ronaldo.
8:19AM REMEMBER THE NAME
Remember the name Gonçalo Ramos; the kid who has been called into replace a sulky Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal’s last 16 clash with Switzerland scored a hat-trick on his World Cup debut.
Amid widespread criticism of the Portugal coach for daring to bench Ronaldo, his decision was validated with the 21-year-old producing easily the best performance of any player at this World Cup.
His first goal seemed the impossible dream – an angle most others wouldn’t have the gall to attempt.
Barely five minutes into the second half and the youngster netted his second before the dream was complete with his third and final goal putting his side 5-1 up.
Prior to the tournament, Ramos had played just 33 minutes of international football for his country.
“This is arguably, I think it’s quite obvious the best performance of the World Cup so far,” Craig Foster said. “It was amazing. So for Ramos to come on and score…certainly one of the best debuts in World Cup history after Klose in 2002.
“He’s the second youngest hat-trick scorer in the knockout stages of the World Cup since Pele in 1958 in the semifinal for the Brazil World Cup winning team. This is an unbelievable performance.
“Credit to Santos. He’s done an amazing job.
“His value (Ramos) to Benfica has doubled now. Manchester United ironically are talking about him to effectively replace Ronaldo, who of course has left the club.”
7:50AM ANYONE ELSE WANT TO SCORE?
Portugal have their 6th of the match and a stunner it was too – aren’t they all.
Just pouring the salt into this gaping wound of Switzerland, Anota Leao with an insane strike.
Imagine having him as a substitute, not even a match starter.
Man Portugal are a massive threat, I didn’t have them in the top 4 for this tournament. Mind is rapidly changing
8:43 RONALDO DENIED
A break away in play for the veteran and he controlled the ball sublimely before smacking it into the back of the net.
But the flag was up, he’s denied.
7:33AM WHAT HAPPENED TO SPAIN?
Sergio Busquets said Spain’s 3-0 defeat on penalties by Morocco was a “cruel” way to decide the World Cup last-16 clash after the teams drew 0-0.
The midfielder’s spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou as the 2010 World Cup winners failed to score any of their penalties.
“It was a pity. It was decided on penalties in the most cruel way,” said Busquets.
“It was tough, very hard for us. We tried to wear them down, give them the run-around, find spaces. We lacked that little luck for the final ball.” Spain were also knocked out of Euro 2020 on penalties in the semi-finals by Italy.
Busquets, 34, would not be immediately drawn on whether he would continue playing international football.
“Now the most important thing is the national team and not me,” said the Barcelona player.
“It’s a tough night and we have to pick ourselves up and use this as experience for our game. There are some very young players who this will help a lot.”
Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon was the hero in Euro 2020 against Switzerland in a quarter-final shootout but on this occasion he could only stop one of Morocco’s efforts.
“I think in the 120 minutes of the game we were superior to our opponents, but what I say counts for little now if we can’t find the net,” added Simon, who saved Badr Benoun’s penalty.
“In the shootout they were superior and that is what took them to the quarter-finals.
“We are seeing that there are surprises throughout the World Cup. We were not capable of overcoming them and we did not expect to be eliminated against Morocco, but it’s the reality and now we have to go home.”
7:26AM RAMOS HAS THE HAT-TRICK
He will be long remembered as the emerging star of this World Cup, Ramos has his third.
man of the moment and what a way to respond to all the conjecture around being bnrought into replace one of the biggest names in football.
“Delicious hat-trick! Dream the dream, why don’t you,” Peter Drury as always nails the big moment.
“The world is yours, son. That is some sort of a World Cup bow.
“It’s a night he’s going to struggle to better in the long career that lies ahead of him. He has peaked quickly.”
7:16AM SWITZERLAND HAVE ONE
It’s raining goals I can barely keep up.
Won’t come to mean much but Switzerland have found the back of the net.
Akanji pounces at the back post and that’s the first time Switzerland have ever scored at this stage of a World Cup.
7:14AM PORTUGAL AGAIN!
This is getting out of control. At what stage are we allowed to start talking about how much BETTER Portugal plays without Ronaldo on the field?
Another incredible burst of play on the counter and it’s 4-0 thanks to Guerreiro.
Magnificent football and so much better flow to the Portuguese without THAT GUY on the field.
7:09AM RAMOS AGAIN! POR 3-0 SWI
Barely five minutes into the second half and the Portuguese are three up and it’s the youngster none of us had heard of until about an hour ago.
Smart work on the right wing and it’s slotted in to perfection an the keeper is nutmegged.
So Morocco v Portugual it is – short of a miracle in Qatar.
6:48AM IS SPAIN COACH NEXT TO GO?
Luis Enrique wants to stay on as Spain coach but said his future was not yet decided after Morocco knocked La Roja out in the World Cup last 16.
The manager, who led Spain to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, saw his side beaten 3-0 on penalties after a 0-0 draw with the North African side over 120 minutes.
“I can’t say, because I don’t know,” Luis Enrique told a press conference when asked about his future.
“The national team has time. I am very happy with the Spanish FA, the president and with (the sporting director).
“If it was up to me I would stay all my life, but that is not the case. “I have to think calmly what is the best for me and for the national team. All situations will have an influence.” The coach was first appointed in 2018 after Spain were eliminated in the last 16 of the Russia World Cup by the hosts.
6:33 GOAL! PORTUGAL SCORE
The “grand-daddy of them” all according to Peter Drury as 39-year-old Pepe gets up on a corner and bangs the ball in with his head.
“Old enough to be the father of the man who scored Portugal’s first, Portugal ancient and modern,” Drury is a port of a commentator.
6:17AM GOAL! RONALDO WHO?
Remember the name Gonçalo Ramos; the kid who has been called into replace sulky Ronaldo has just scored an impossible goal, I don’t think even he expected that to go in.
It came from nothing, the angle was always in doubt.
Fourth touch of his first ever start for Portugal and he’s scored in the knock-out stage of a World Cup – how’s that for cool and calm.
An absurd goal
5:45AM RONALDO BENCHED
Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of Portugal’s starting line-up for their World Cup last 16 clash against Switzerland, with Goncalo Ramos selected up front at his expense.
Ronaldo is the only man to score at five World Cups and is the record scorer in men’s international football with 118 goals
5AM PELE UPDATE
Pele’s health is “improving progressively,” his doctors said, a week after the 82-year-old Brazilian football legend was hospitalized amid ongoing treatment for colon cancer.
With the World Cup in full swing in Qatar, fans have been on edge over the health of the footballer considered by many the greatest of all time, who has been in fragile health in recent years.
Pele was hospitalized last Tuesday in Sao Paulo for what doctors called a “reevaluation” of his chemotherapy treatments, which he has been undergoing since having surgery in September 2021 to remove a colon tumor.
They also diagnosed a respiratory infection, which they are treating with antibiotics.
His family said it was the result of a Covid-19 infection that Pele, who is fully vaccinated, contracted three weeks ago.
Pele “continues improving progressively, especially the respiratory infection,” his medical team said in a statement.
“He remains in a standard room, with stable vital signs, conscious and with no new complications.”
BRAZIL DIVIDE THE WORLD
Brazil’s players have divided football after they celebrated each of their goals in the 4-1 World Cup mauling of South Korea with some extravagant dance moves, with even their coach getting in on the act.
The pre-tournament favourites put on a fearsome display of attacking football to send South Korea home and set up a quarter-final on Friday in Qatar with 2018 runners-up Croatia.
Coach Tite’s side took the lead after just seven minutes through Vinicius Junior and Neymar scored from the penalty spot on his return from an ankle injury as the Koreans were outclassed.
But it was the manner of the exuberant celebrations during Monday’s which caught the eye of many, with the Brazilians rolling out a set of choreographed dance moves.
“Look, I’ve never seen so much dancing, it’s like watching Strictly,” said former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, referring to a hugely popular television show in Britain where celebrities compete in a dance contest.
“I just can’t believe what I’m watching, I really can’t,” added the famously scathing television pundit.
“I don’t like this, I think it’s really disrespecting the opposition,” Keane added.
Even Tite did a jig with his players in front of his dugout after Richarlison scored a classy third for Brazil in the 29th minute.
“There are always spiteful people who will understand it as disrespect,” the 61-year-old said afterwards, defending the celebrations.
“I told the players to hide me a little, I know about the visibility. “I didn’t want it to have any other interpretation than the joy of the goal, the result, the performance, but not disrespect for the opponent or (South Korea coach) Paulo Bento, for whom I have a lot of respect.”
Alexi Lalas, the former United States stalwart who played at the 1994 World Cup, said he was all for it.
“If you are somebody out there that frowns and is grouchy and grumpy about soccer players dancing after they have scored a goal, or about Brazilian players dancing after they score a goal, and have some misguided concept of what sportsmanship is …
“Then I feel sorry for you, I feel sorry for the life you live that has no joy,” he told Fox Sports.
“If you want to dance, if you want to sing, if you want run around like a crazy person, you do whatever it is you want to do to celebrate the greatest moment in our beautiful game.” But Graeme Souness, another famously no-nonsense pundit from Britain, was having none of it.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone goes right through one of these Brazilians,” said the notoriously tough-tackling former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder.
Originally published as FIFA World Cup 2022 results: Cristiano Ronaldo benched Portugal v Switzerland, Spain knocked out on Morocco penalties