CRISTIANO Ronaldo wasn’t in control of his World Cup destiny but Portugal had no problem without the greatest player in their history.

With Ronaldo on the bench, Portugal thrived here at the Lusail Stadium on Tuesday night; coach Fernando Santos finding the perfect balance for a squad brimming with talent as they went beyond the last-16 of football’s quadrennial showpiece for the first time since 2006 with their 6-1 dismantling of Switzerland setting up a quarter-final clash with Morocco.

Joao Felix was at his devastating best, brilliantly linking up with Bruno Fernandes and Portugal were a joy to watch.

Goncalo Ramos annou­n­ced himself at the world stage with a hat-trick, his goals coming with a powerful finish in the 17th, a 51st-minute tap-in and a dink in the 67th.

Centre-back Pepe (33rd) and left-back Raphael Guerriro (55th) got the other goals.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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