It was the first time coach Fernando Santos preferred young Goncalo Ramos in Portugal’s starting lineup in the FIFA World Cup 2022. It was a bold call by Santos as he benched the team’s most experienced striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, in a high-voltage knockout game against Switzerland, to bring in a 21-year-old Benfica forward on the pitch.
Prior to this game, Ramos played just 33 minutes across three previous appearances.
The move paid dividends, with Ramos powering Portugal to the quarterfinals, scoring a hat-trick against Switzerland in a 6-1 win. He became the youngest player to strike three times in a World Cup knockout match since Pele in 1958.
In the 17th minute, Ramos backed Santos’ move by scoring Portugal’s first goal.
Joao Felix clipped delicately into the feet of Ramos, who quickly swivelled past Fabian Schaer and launched a left-footed strike into the roof of the net past a stunned Yann Sommer.
Ramos got his second and Portugal’s third goal from close range six minutes into the second half from Dalot’s cross down the right.
He eventually completed his treble after more outstanding work from Felix, nonchalantly dodging Sommer with one of his final touches.