Watch How Ronaldo Storms Off The Pitch After Portugal Win Against Switzerland, As Boss Santos Reveals Why He Was Benched.

Portugal's head coach Fernando Santos has revealed the reason he dropped captain Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench in their round-of-16 encounter against Switzerland on Tuesday night.

Santos had hinted the 37-year-old would not be part of his starting XI for the game during his pre-match press conference.

He slammed Ronaldo for his reaction after being subbed in their final group fixture against South Korea which they lost 2-1 last week, but though Santos claims that the decision was entirely tactical, and insists he remains a great captain.

For the match against Switzerland, Santos started with Bernado Silva, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and Gonçalo Ramos in attack.

A benched Ronaldo who is now without a club, following his controversial departure from Manchester United, watched as his replacement, Goncalo Ramos, stepped in and scored the first hattrick (17', 51', 67 minutes) in the 2022 World Cup tournament helping Portugal cruise to a 6-1 victory over Switzerland.

It was a historic hat-trick for the 21-year-old Ramos who made his full debut for Portugal, and justifies the shock decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting XI.

Ramos also becomes the youngest man to score three times in a FIFA World Cup knock-out match after Pele since 1958, and the second Portuguese player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup knock-out game since Eusebio vs. North Korea 1966.

Pepe also netted for Portugal in the 33rd minute, which makes him the oldest ever player to score in a knockout stage game at the FIFAWorldCup (39 years & 283 days old), and the second oldest scorer in a World Cup after Roger Milla at 42-years.

Raphael Guerreiro (55), and Rafael Leao (90+2) were other players on target for a rampant Portugal. Man City's defender Manuel Akanji scored consolation goal in the 58th minute for Switzerland.

Ronaldo was eventually brought into the match in the 74th minute, having started on the bench in a knockout game for his country for the first time since Euro 2008. He has played 31 matches for Portugal since.

Interestingly, that Euro fixture was against the Swiss as well. Selecao das Quinas had ended up losing the match with a full-time scoreline of 2-0.

The Portuguese captain who replaced Joao Felix, eventually got a shot at goal but was caught offiside.

In a clip released after Portugal blew away Switzerland at the Lusail Stadium, Portuguese players can be seen applauding their fans on the pitch following a sensational display. 

But apart from his colleagues, Ronaldo on his own, slowly made his way across the pitch towards the tunnel, and notably his team-mates neglect to join him as they celebrate jubilantly as a group.  

Speaking to reporters after the win, Santos insisted: "I already explained it (the situation surrounding Ronaldo being dropped), I won't explain it again. 

"They are different players. It was game strategy, all the players are different, I also launched Dalot, Raphael, however Cancelo is also a fabulous player. It was what I thought that we would need for this match against Switzerland."

He added: "There is no problem between Fernando Santos and the captain of the national team (Ronaldo), we've been friends for many years. 

"Players make decisions. Things don't affect us. I already explained, that part was completely resolved and he set a great example of a great captain."

The 2016 European champions booked a showdown with the only African team (Morocco) left in the tournament.

The Atlas Lions had defeated 2010 World champions Spain earlier in the day via penalties.

Morocco will hope the become the first ever African country to advance to the semi-finals when they face Portugal on Saturday, December 10 at the Al Thumama Stadium.

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