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Portugal dismantles Switzerland to reach the World Cup quarterfinals

Portugal forward Gonçalo Ramos celebrates scoring his team's fifth goal, his hat-trick, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Portugal and Switzerland on December 6, 2022.
Jewel Samad
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AFP via Getty Images
Portugal forward Gonçalo Ramos celebrates scoring his team's fifth goal, his hat-trick, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Portugal and Switzerland on December 6, 2022.

DOHA, Qatar — Portuguese soccer player Gonçalo Ramos turned a surprise starting assignment into a memorable World Cup moment.

Tuesday at the tournament in Qatar, the 21-year-old forward scored three goals in Portugal's 6-1 romp over Switzerland in a round of 16 match.

Ramos was placed into the starting lineup for none other than superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Portuguese coach Fernando Santos made the call after benching Ronaldo for "tactical reasons." But Santos was angry after Ronaldo complained when he was taken out of the team's prior match against South Korea.

So when Ramos began his starting stint, the story was, youngster replaces legend. By the end of his stint, the story was, at least for this night, "who needs a legend?"

Ramos became the first player to score three goals, a hat trick, at this World Cup, and the first since 2002, with a hat trick in his first ever World Cup start.

Ramos, who previously had only scored one international goal, netted one in the first half and two more in the second.

With the dominating win, Portugal moves on to meet surprising Morocco in the tournament's quarterfinals on Saturday.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Goldman
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.