Portugal Powers Into Last Eight With 6-1 Demolition of Switzerland
Goncalo Ramos scored a stunning hat trick as a slick Portugal thrashed Switzerland, 6-1, on Tuesday to storm into the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 2006.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos made the brave call to bench Cristiano Ronaldo and was rewarded with an artful display from his side as they set up a last-eight clash with Morocco, who stunned Spain in a penalty shootout earlier on Tuesday.
Ramos, making his first start at the World Cup, gave Portugal the lead in the 17th minute after latching onto Joao Felix’s pass and smashing the ball past Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer at his near post from an acute angle.
The 21-year-old Benfica striker scored his second, and Portugal’s third, six minutes after the break by getting onto the end of Diogo Dalot’s low cross and he completed his hat trick in the 67th with a delicate dinked finish.
Pepe had doubled Portugal’s lead with a powerful header from a Bruno Fernandes corner after 33 minutes and Raphael Guerreiro rifled in their fourth in the 55th before Rafael Leao completed the rout in added time with a curled finish.
Manuel Akanji scored a consolation goal for the Swiss from a corner just before the hour.
Morocco 3, Spain 0
Achraf Hakimi calmly converted a penalty to send Morocco through to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-0 shootout win over former champions Spain after a cagey last-16 clash ended goalless on Tuesday.
Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou saved spot-kicks from Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets after Pablo Sarabia had hit the post and Spanish-born Hakimi held his nerve to earn his team a quarter-final against either Portugal or Switzerland.
Morocco became only the fourth African nation to reach the last eight of the tournaments, 12 years after Ghana did so in South Africa.
After a scrappy match finished deadlocked at 0-0 after extra time with few shots on target, Morocco fed off the raucous support of their red-clad supporters in the shootout as Spain crumbled.
Spain enjoyed more than 75% of possession and completed almost 800 passes but Morocco caused problems for them on the counterattack and goalkeeper Unai Simon made some good saves.
It was the fourth time Spain have been knocked out of the World Cup on penalties and the second in a row.