Portugal reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup, where they will play Morocco. Fernando Santos’s team inflicted a crushing defeat on Switzerland (6-1) and did so without Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup. After the match, the world media discussed the coaching staff’s decision, which, judging by the result, turned out to be justified.
Young striker Gonçalo Ramos replaced Ronaldo in the starting line-up. The 21-year-old Benfica player scored three goals and became the main hero of the game. He spoke to reporters after the match: “We have to focus on the next game. Do I hope I’ll be in the starting lineup in the next match? These questions are not for me to ask. I will work as hard as I can and the coach will decide. Ronaldo talked not only to me but to all the other players. Everything went well.”
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Luis Gonçalves, Portuguese selector
– The win against Switzerland was very important in terms of how the team asserted itself without Cristiano. A great win, and the coach now has a nice headache. Santos has been successful on all fronts. I think Ronaldo will be in the starting lineup for the next match. In my opinion, it’s a good option. Cristiano will be fresh and motivated, and he’ll be great in tandem with Bruno and Felix.
Kave Solhekol, Sky Sports correspondent
– Time spares no one, including Ronaldo. “Manchester United decided they would do without Cristiano, now the Portuguese national team has followed the same path. The man who replaced him is just wow! Great play by Ramos. I’m not sure if Santos decides to leave Ronaldo in reserve for the match against Morocco. The whole country supports Cristiano, people trust him. But if we talk about the future of the Portuguese national team, it will take place without Ronaldo.
– The Portuguese made it to the quarterfinals without Ronaldo in the starting lineup. This is a wake-up call for the main star. In the past, coaches have turned a blind eye to the player’s erratic behaviour but now the situation has changed. Santos has made it clear: At this World Cup, the team is more important than the individual players. Portugal have a good enough squad to succeed without Ronaldo, as the game with Switzerland showed. Ramos played an excellent match and proved that Santos’ controversial decision to keep Cristiano on injured reserve was justified.