Goncalo Ramos
Goncalo Ramos demonstrated his attacking skills, scoring 3 out of 6 goals for Portugal against Switzerland in Doha on December 6. Image Credit: Twitter

Doha: Goncalo Ramos scored the first hat-trick of the 2022 World Cup as Portugal powered towards a place in the quarter-finals with a one-sided mauling of Switzerland on Tuesday.

Portugal hammered Switzerland 6-1 to reach World Cup quarterfinals.

The 21-year-old Ramos, named in the starting line-up ahead of veteran star Cristiano Ronaldo, struck in the 17th, 51st and 67th minutes as Portugal surged into a 6-1 lead against the Swiss.

Goncalo Ramos
Portugal's Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick on his first World Cup start to help his side beat Switzerland 6-1 on Tuesday and send them through to the quarter-finals for the first time in 16 years, setting up a clash with Morocco.

Benfica forward Ramos — making his first international start — was substituted for Ronaldo with just under 20 minutes of regulation time remaining at the Lusail Stadium.

Prior to the tournament, Ramos had played just 33 minutes of international football for his country.

Portugal are set to face Morocco in the quarter-finals of the tournament on Saturday.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos benched skipper and all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, tasking Benfica forward Ramos with leading the line despite the 21-year-old making his debut just three days before the World Cup in a friendly.

Big stage

Ramos had played only 10 minutes as a substitute in Qatar but the youngster looked like he belonged on the big stage with a memorable performance for Portugal who did not miss Ronaldo — a late substitute who had a goal ruled out for offside.

Portugal doubled their lead through skipper Pepe when the 39-year-old timed his leap to perfection to rise above the two Swiss centre backs and head home from a Bruno Fernandes corner in the 33rd minute, with Yann Sommer well beaten yet again.

Goncalo Ramos
Image Credit: Twitter | @selecaoportugal

The Swiss keeper did well to deny Ramos his second goal of the half with a fingertip save from a late counter-attack as the Portuguese went in with a 2-0 halftime lead.

But Sommer could do nothing when Diogo Dalot sent in a cross six minutes after the restart, with Ramos in the right place again at the near post to slip the ball between his legs to give Portugal a three-goal cushion.

The Portuguese piled on the misery when they carved open the Swiss defence with another flowing counter-attack in which Ramos found Raphael Guerreiro in acres of space and the full back fired the ball past Sommer to make it 4-0 in the 55th.

Switzerland softened the blow just before the hour mark when defender Manuel Akanji sneaked in unmarked at the far post from a corner to slip a shot home after Portugal failed to clear.

But a vibrant Portugal attack roared back when Ramos was set through on goal by Felix and just when it looked like he had lost the ball with a heavy touch, the forward chipped it over the onrushing Sommer to complete a well-deserved hat-trick.

Substitute Rafael Leao then put the icing on the cake in second-half added time with a curling effort into the far corner as the stranded Sommer's shoulders sank while he watched the ball sail past him into the back of the net.