Portuguese coach Fernando Santos had to make a tough decision and bench the team’s biggest star Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 has shown obvious displeasure while being substituted in the previous match against South Korea, which led to a dispute with the head manager. It seems like that didn’t bother the rest of the squad much as they had a godly performance last night against Switzerland in the Round of 16. Portugal demolished the opposition 6-1 and Ronaldo’s replacement Goncalo Ramos scored three goals!
This was the first time since World Cup 1990 to see someone score a hat-trick in the knockout stages. Besides Ronaldo, coach Santos also decided to leave out Ruben Neves and Joao Cancelo. Has he found the winning formula and can Portugal go all the way? Switzerland conceded more than four goals in just one out of the last hundred matches played across all competitions! Breaking this rock-solid defense in such a manner is surely going to be a massive confidence boost for the Portuguese.
Pre-Tournament Odds on Portugal Lifting the Trophy Were 15/1
Portugal was not on the short-list of the biggest potential candidates to win the World Cup 2022 before the tournament started. The odds shortened after The Navigators opened the group stages with two back-to-back victories against Ghana and Uruguay. The next opponent is going to be Morocco who caused a massive upset by eliminating Spain after a penalty shootout.
Portugal is surely looking forward to the clash against the African side more than facing the Red Fury. They are labelled as big favorites to win that match in regular time at 4/6. Portugal played against the Atlas Lions in the previous WC in Russia, beating them in the group stages 1-0. At the moment of publishing this article Portugal, Argentina, and England are 6/1 to win the World Cup 2022.
The Question Marks Over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Future
While the entire team was celebrating in front of the Portuguese fans last night, Ronaldo simply wandered off the pitch alone. There are a couple of big similarities to recent events at Old Trafford and it’s hard to predict what is going to happen for the rest of the tournament. Likes of seeing CR7 in the starting lineup against Morocco are low in our opinion, even though he was chanted by the crowd in the 72nd minute, making the 195th appearance for the national team.
Goncalo Ramos earned that spot after last night’s performance and could even make a flashy transfer to European top leagues. Benfica’s forward is topping the charts to be team’s top scorer at 9/10, followed by Bruno Fernandes at 33/10, Rafael Leao at 5/1, and Cristiano Ronaldo at 7/1.