Cristiano Ronaldo’s benching made all the pre-match headlines ahead of Portugal’s World Cup last-16 match against Switzerland, but after Fernando Santos’ side thrashed their opponents 6-1, it was hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos who was most talked about in the aftermath. ITV’s Ian Wright believes it demonstrates how Portugal can succeed without their aging talisman.
After thrashing Switzerland 6-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, Ian Wright believes Portugal can win the World Cup without him.
Ronaldo’s demotion dominated the build-up to the last-16 match, but it was his relatively unknown replacement, 21-year-old Goncalo Ramos, who took full advantage, scoring a stunning hat-trick to lead his side into the quarter-finals.
With the likes of Joao Felix – still only 23 – also impressing in the win, Wright speculated on Portugal’s future prospects without Ronaldo.
That’s a team that can easily go all the way,” ex-England striker Wright began on ITV Sport.
“And he [Ronaldo] could still really contribute to this team without maybe having to do so much, because this team can do it without him.
“They’ve proved that before in the Euros [winning in 2016] and they’ve done it today. They were dynamic without him.
“If he just gets it all right in his head, he could still end up scoring the winning goal for them in the final.”
However, alongside Wright, Neville attempted to refute claims of Ronaldo sulking during the game, which some people had made based on images circulating on social media.
“He celebrated like crazy for the first two goals,” Neville said.
“He wasn’t sulking, he went and celebrated with Pepe, with Ramos on both goals.
“It looked like he was miserable on social media – that’s not the case.