Watch: How Ronaldo's replacement Ramos smashed plethora of records with sensational hat-trick vs Switzerland at FIFA WC
Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal's Round of 16 match at the FIFA World Cup 2022, a young Goncalo Ramos scored a stunning hat-trick to dismantle Switzerland on Wednesday.
Who would have thought that Cristiano Ronaldo will make way for Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos in Portugal's must-win game against Switzerland at the grandest stage of them all? Portugal coach Fernando Santos made headlines even before the start of Round of 16 encounter between the two teams by dropping talisman Ronaldo from the starting eleven at the Lusail Stadium. For the first time in his trophy-laden career, goal machine Ronaldo came off the bench to ply his trade with Portugal at the FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo, who apparently made an unsavoury remark while being substituted in Portugal's final group game, was asked to warm the bench by head coach Santos on Wednesday. Santos not only benched Ronaldo in the knockout match, but the head coach also opted to replace the Portugal captain with 21-year-old Ramos, who was yet to play his first World Cup match in Qatar. Replacing Ronaldo in Portugal's crucial match against the Swiss, a young Ramos scored a stunning hat-trick to dismantle Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium.
ALSO READ: No Ronaldo, no problem: Ramos hat-trick helps Portugal smash 6 past Switzerland
A month after playing his first-ever match for Portugal, Ramos made his World Cup debut by replacing one of the greatest players in the history of the beautiful game. Stepping into Ronaldo's shoes in the Round of 16 encounter, the Benfica forward opened the scoring for Portugal by netting the opener in the 17th minute. Opening the floodgates in the goal-fest encounter, Ramos doubled his tally in the 51st minute of the game.
Ronaldo's replacement then punished the Swiss defence again in the 67th minute to complete a memorable hat-trick on his World Cup debut. Ramos has become the first player to score a hat-trick in his first start at a FIFA World Cup match since Germany's Miroslav Klose. The legendary Germany striker achieved the special feat back in 2002. Interestingly, the rising Benfica star has scored more goals for Portugal in the knockout stages than Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal captain Ronaldo has enjoyed more than 500 minutes in the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup but the goal machine is yet to end his goal drought.
Ramos is the second youngest player (21 years and 169 days) to score a goal for Portugal at the FIFA World Cup. Ronaldo is still the youngest (21 years and 132 days) player to score for Portugal at the showpiece event. Ramos is also the second youngest player to score a hat-trick in the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup. The Portugal forward is only behind legendary footballer Pele, who achieved the major milestone in 1958. The Brazilian icon was only 17 at the time. Ronaldo's like-for-like replacement Ramos is now tipped to start for Portugal against Morocco in the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.