“Two days without World Cup football?” weeps Kári Tulinius. “How will we cope?”
Well, if you’re in the UK, ITVX has about 30 World Cup classics, in full, with the original frigging commentary.
At 21, Goncalo Ramos is the youngest player to score a World Cup hat-trick since Florian Albert in 1962.
No CR7, but six goals for a stylish, swaggering Portugal. They played some exhilarating football, maybe the best we’ve seen in this tournament, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a fairytale hat-trick in his first full game for his country.
The other goals, all crackers in their own way, came from Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao. Switzerland are a decent side, but they were taken apart.
Portugal will now play Morocco, with France or England waiting in the semi-final if they get through. On that form, they could win the whole thing.
The substitute Rafael Leao scores a beauty. He played a neat one-two with Guerreiro, cut inside on the left edge of the box and whipped a curling shot around the flat-footed Sommer. Lovely goal.
90+1 min There will be four added minutes.
89 min Ardon Jashari replaces Breel Embolo, who has probably been Switzerland’s best player at this World Cup.
89 min “It’s silly to belittle Ronaldo’s career as he clearly is one of the all time greats,” says Espen Bommen, “but it’s interesting that Portugal’s biggest success, the Euro win, and their best game, because I think today qualifies as that, has come without him on the pitch.”
I’d say that’s just coincidence, as he got them to the final of Euro 2016. This is different though – the team just looks better without him. He could still have an impact on this tournament from the bench, though, a 124th-minute winner against England in the semi-finals maybe.
87 min Rafael Leao replaces Bruno Fernandes.
85 min “Actually I would not mind if Portugal met Argentina in the final,” says João Melo, “and Messi and Ronaldo got involved in a fight during the game and were both red carded simultaneously for it.”
And then walked down the tunnel, arm in arm, off into the
new Saudi Arabian tourism advert sunset.
84 min: Ronaldo has a goal disallowed! To be fair, he knew he was offside. He took it well, rattling a left-footed shot past Sommer, but he was about four yards offside when the ball was played through.
83 min “Why keep slagging on CR?” says John Steppling. “Great story with Ramos, but Ronaldo has been a superb player for a decade. Of course people cheer and they should. Doesn’t make them idiots. Makes you an idiot.”
I was talking about the circus generally – to which I’ve also contributed – not Ronaldo. But I appreciate the pep talk and self-esteem boost.
81 min: Portugal substitution Bernardo Silva, quietly classy throughout, is replaced by Ruben Neves.
81 min Embolo’s extravagant scissor kick from the edge of the area goes a few yards wide. It hit Dalot’s noggin en route, though I don’t think it was on target. Shaqiri’s corner is headed over at the near post by Xhaka. That was a chance.
79 min It’s petering out now. The main point of interest, rightly or wrongly, is whether Cristiano Ronaldo can join Lionel Messi in scoring his first goal in a World Cup knockout tie.
76 min And pings the free-kick straight into the wall. He caught it sweetly, and there was a dull thud as it hit some poor sod in the wall.
76 min Bernardo Silva is fouled 25 yards from goal. Ronaldo marks out his run…
75 min There are loud cheers every time Ronaldo gets within five yards of the ball. It’s actually a bit weird, like a Bros concert in 1988.
74 min: Triple change for Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo, Vitinha and Ricardo Horta replace Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos, Otavio. There are wild cheers as he runs onto the field, much wilder than at any stage of the actual game, DURING WHICH A YOUNG MAN SCORED ONE OF THE GREAT WORLD CUP HAT-TRICKS YOU EEJITS.
73 min “Siri: show me how a really storied career can end really badly,” says Paul Cockburn.
It’s not over yet. Wait till he scores the winner against Argentina in the final and then suplexes Messi.
72 min That’s the first hat-trick of this World Cup. There were only two in 2018, actually: Harry Kane against Panama and, yep, Cristiano Ronaldo against Spain.
70 min Guerreiro’s volleyed cross just evades the flying Fernandes at the far post. Portugal have played sheer, delightful football tonight.
68 min It’s worth repeating: Goncalo Ramos is 21 years old, in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, starting his first game in international football, in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, in a World Cup knockout game, in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, for a team who haven’t won a World Cup knockout game in 16 years.
This really is incredible. Joao Felix slipped him in with a simple pass, and Ramos dinked the ball gently over the outrushing Sommer. Who writes his scripts?
Goncalo Ramos completes a hat-trick that is going straight into World Cup folklore!
66 min: Switzerland substitution Noah Okafor replaces Vargas.
66 min Switzerland are still buzzing around in attack, hoping to give Portugal something to think about. Shaqiri shoots miles over from the right edge of the box and then looks at the pitch in disgust.
65 min The hypnotic chanting of ‘Ronaldo’/‘Baldy’ continues. No sign yet that’s coming on. It’s slightly sad, on both sides, that Portugal are 4-1 up in a knockout game, having played some sensational stuff, and all we’re talking about is a once great forward who is now past it.
64 min This is the full quarter-final line-up.
Morocco v Portugal (3pm)
England v France (7pm)
63 min “Portugal playing like a box of Quality Street without the toffee,” says Jim Brown. “So much better.”
61 min I think the crowd are calling for Ronaldo. Either that or Gianni Infantino has appeared again and they’re singing “Baldy!”
(I say this as a member of that particular community.)
60 min “Dear Rob,” says Michael Meagher. You wrote ‘11 min Neither team is playing at full pelt. It’s as if they know this is going to penalties and want to conserve a bit of energy.’ That entry has aged well. What? Oh.”
We can’t get it right all the time, or indeed some of it. I thought this was certain to at least go to extra-time.
59 min The substitute Comert is booked for an arm to the face of Bruno Fernandes.
Shaqiri’s nasty inswinging corner flicked off the head of Ramos – another assist for him – and Akanji volleyed into an empty net at the far post.
Manuel Akanji scores Switzerland’s first goal in a World Cup knockout game since 1954.
57 min Goncalo Ramos will get the headlines tomorrow – you’re darn tootin – but Joao Felix has been delightful.
Never mind CR7; Portugal could score seven here. That was a beauty. Joao Felix played a give-and-go with Otavio on the halfway line, shuffled elegantly past a defender and zipped the ball into Ramos. He turned and played in the left-back Guerreiro, who rammed the ball into the roof of the net.
What a glorious team goal!
54 min: Double substitution for Switzerland Denis Zakaria and Haris Seferovic replace Djibril Sow and Remo Freuler.
54 min Fernandes’s corner is headed down by Pepe and blocked by Rodriguez. I don’t think it was on target.
53 min Joao Felix’s shot takes a deflection off Akanji and goes behind for a corner. So much for this being a long night; Portugal are rampant.
53 min So, Portugal will play Morocco in the third quarter-final (Saturday, 3pm GMT). And the winners of that game will play France or England in the semi-final.
Goncalo Ramos has got his second goal, and right now he wouldn’t be able to stop smiling if he tried. He’s not trying. The goal was made by Dalot, who gave Vargas a taste of his own by zipping down the right and driving a cross to the near post. Ramos got in front of Comert (I think) and flicked an instinctive finish that went through Sommer and into the net.
This is turning into one of the great World Cup stories!
49 min An early corner down the left for Portugal. Bernardo Silva’s outswinger is headed across goal and booted clear by Rodriguez.
There was a huge cheer around the ground just before the corner was taken. Either Ronaldo is warming up or Gianni Infantino has appeared on the big screen.
48 min “Perhaps Ronaldo’s decline started with the loss of his son (and hospitalisation of his daughter),” says Ellen Bohan, “which he didn’t have a lot of time to recover from – not that you ever fully recover from that.”
Good point. There have signs of physical decline too but goodness knows what that does to even somebody as mentally tough as Ronaldo. It’s one of the main reasons why I’m a bit uneasy with all the schadenfreude.