Fernando Santos’ bold decision to bench Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in his last 18 World Cup appearances was justified.
Santos replaced the 37-year-old football giant with an incredibly talented youngster, 16 years younger than Ronaldo.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Goncalo Ramos scores an ‘impossible’ goal for Portugal.
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And Gancola Ramos repaid the faith placed in him by filling in the footsteps of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner with a ‘delicious’ hat-trick in what turned out to be a managerial feat.
Ronaldo has scored goals in the past five World Cups but never in the knockout stages of a tournament.
It took Ramos just 17 minutes to eclipse him and he did it with an ‘impossible’ goal.
With a thunderous left-footed rocket, Ramos found the narrow gap between Swiss keeper Yann Sommer and the top left corner to open the goal in the round of 16.
“It seemed impossible to squeeze one in from there,” commentator Alan Smith said of the strike.
Ramos had played just 10 total minutes in Portugal’s World Cup group games but got off to a surprise start when Santos decided to bench the country’s top scorer Ronaldo and take a chance with the youngster.
In fact, the youngster had played just 33 minutes of international football up until Wednesday morning’s competition (AEDT), but with just his fourth touch of the game, he netted the first of three personal goals and six team goals.
The result of Santos’ bold move was a much more fluid attack than in previous games, with Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes playing more freely than usual.
While for years every Portuguese attacking move was almost destined to end with Ronaldo, the front line was now far more unpredictable.
Portugal defeated Switzerland 6-1 to storm into the quarter-finals of a World Cup for the first time since 2006. Morocco were preparing a round of 16 clash that stunned Spain on penalties earlier on Tuesday.
Ramos scored his second and Portugal’s third goal six minutes after the break by completing a low cross from Diogo Dalot and he completed his hat-trick with a fine dinked finish in the 67th minute.
Commentator Peter Drury was in awe of the youngster.
“Delicious hat trick! Dream the dream, why don’t you?” Trost said.
“The world is yours, sir.”
Pepe had doubled Portugal’s lead with a powerful header from a Bruno Fernandes corner after 33 minutes and Raphael Guerreiro scored for the fourth time in the 55th minute. Substitute Rafael Leao completed the loss in added time with a curled right foot.
Manuel Akanji scored the consolation goal for the Swiss just before an hour after a corner.
While thousands of fans at Lusail Stadium repeatedly chanted “Ronaldo” “Ronaldo” in hopes of seeing the superstar in action, Ramos became the first player to salute one in his first World Cup start since Germany’s Miroslav Klose 20 years ago hat trick scored.
Only when the game was already in the sack did Ronaldo come on as a late substitute and reaped the loudest cheering of the evening.
But by then a new Portuguese hero, no longer the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, had stolen the show with a memorable performance.
Ronaldo had a chance which he slammed into the net but was clearly offside and the goal wasn’t counted.
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/world-cup-soccer/watch-ronaldo-replacement-goncalo-ramos-shocks-world-cup-with-impossible-act-of-brilliance-c-9082914 Goncalo Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement, shocks the 2022 World Cup with an ‘impossible’ stunt