Goncalo Ramos scored a stunning hat-trick to send Portugal into 2022 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Finals with 6-1 victory against Switzerland.
Ramos fired Portugal ahead from a close-range strike in the 17th minute before Pepe doubled Portugal’s lead with a 33rd minute header from a corner.
The Portuguese youngster eventually completed a surprise hat-trick with strikes in the 51st and 67th minutes, either side of his assist for Raphael Guerreiro’s goal in the 55th minute.
Rafael Leao added a sixth goal in the second minute of injury-time to complete a dominant performance for the 2016 UEFA Euro winners.
Switzerland netted a consolatory goal courtesy of Manuel Akanji’s 58th minute effort from a corner, as they now crashed out at the Round of 16 stage in three consecutive World Cup tournaments.
Portugal will now meet Morocco in the Quarter-Finals at Al Thumama Stadium, on Saturday 10 December at 6pm AST local time.
Despite benching Cristiano Ronaldo following an alleged spat with manager – Fernando Santos, Portugal bravely weathered a scrappy start against Switzerland as Pepe blocked Breel Embolo’s fifth minute shot, as the Swiss enjoyed an energetic start to the game.
Portugal eventually settled down and their quality quickly shone through as they began to press with quick passes, which worked Tto take the lead from a 17th minute throw-in as Joao Felix teed up Ramos to lash in from close-range beyond Yann Sommer’s reach.
Ramos then almost added a second goal just two minutes later but his bouncing shot was safely gathered by Sommer, as the 21 year-old continued to quickly impress in place of Ronaldo.
Xherdan Shaqiri then saw a 30th minute free-kick blocked by Diogo Costa as the ball flew towards the bottom-right corner, after Ruben Dias had fouled Embolo.
Up the other end, Fabian Schar made a crucial headed clearance in the 32nd minute but he and Manuel Akjani failed to mark Pepe close enough, as the veteran defender headed in from the resulting corner one minute later to double Portugal’s lead.
Switzerland attempted to reduce their deficit as Edimilson Fernandes’ 38th minute cross was blocked by Diogo Costa, who crucially recovered to clear Remo Freuler’s header.
Ramos missed a huge chance to seal Portugal’s Quarter-Final spot before half-time as he saw a 43rd minute shot saved by Sommer, as the Portuguese nevertheless led comfortably at half-time.
Half-time though couldn’t halt Portugal’s momentum as they came back out still looking lively, which paid off six minutes into the second half as Ramos poked in from Diogo Dalot’s low cross to double his goal tally for the evening.
Ramos soon turned provider for Portugal’s fourth goal as he teed up Raphael Guerreiro to rifle across into the top-right corner unmarked just four minutes later to put the game beyond Switzerland’s reach with 35 minutes plus injury-time left.
Switzerland though refused to be defeated without a goal of their own as Akanji swept in at the far-left post from a 58th minute corner, to provide faint hopes of a dream comeback as they indeed produced to beat France via penalties at UEFA Euro 2020 after a 3-3 draw.
Nine minutes later and Portugal ultimately ensured those hopes were finished as Ramos chipped in from Joao Felix’s pass to complete his hat-trick.
Portugal proceeded thereafter to comfortably dominate the game to the final whistle amidst substitutions, in which Ronaldo came on in the 73rd minute only to see a 84th minute goal on the counter-attack ruled offside.
Substitute, Rafael Leao eventually added a sixth goal in injury-time to cap Portugal’s rampant victory as he smashed in from Guerreiro’s pass.
Santos’ Portugal will now face Morocco in the Quarter-Finals after the Moroccans stunned Spain on penalties in the early kick-off.
Portugal: Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Otavio (Vitinha 74′), William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva (Neves 81′), Bruno Fernandes (Leao 87′), Goncalo Ramos (Ricardo Horta 74′), Joao Felix (Ronaldo 73′)
Substitutes: Rui Patricio, Joao Palhinha, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Jose Sa, Rafael Leao, Vitinha, Joao Mario, Ruben Neves, Joao Cancelo, Ricardo Horta, Matheus Nunes, Antonio Silva
Switzerland: Yann Sommers, Edimilson Fernandes, Fabian Schar (Comert 45′), Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez, Remo Freuler (Zakaria 54′), Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Djibril Sow (Seferovic 54′), Ruben Vargas (Okafor 66′), Breel Embolo (Jashari 89′)
Substitutes: Nico Elvedi, Denis Zakaria, Haris Seferovic, Renato Steffen, Jonas Omlin, Michel Aebischer, Christian Fassnacht, Eray Cömert, Noah Okafor, Fabian Frei, Gregor Kobel, Philipp Kohn, Fabian Rieder, Ardon Jashari
Referee: Cesar Arturo Ramos (Mexico)