MX23RW : Sunday, June 16 19:07:52| >> :600:902695:902695:
Jun 5, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Do Dragao, Porto
Portugal
3-1
SwitzerlandSwitzerland
Ronaldo (25', 88', 90')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Rodriguez (57' pen.)

Fernando Santos hails "football genius" Cristiano Ronaldo following hat-trick

Santos hails
© Reuters
The Juventus forward struck twice in the closing minutes.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos hailed the "genius" of Cristiano Ronaldo after his stunning hat-trick beat Switzerland 3-1 to book the hosts a place in the Nations League final

Juventus forward Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Estadio do Dragao with a fine free-kick after 25 minutes.

Switzerland, though, equalised through a controversial penalty in the 56th minute, after German referee Felix Brych had initially awarded a spot-kick to Portugal for a foul on Bernardo Silva.

The official, though, went back to check a previous incident in the other area when Nelson Semedo had nudged Steven Zuber.

Following a long delay, while he watched replays on the pitchside monitor, Switzerland were given a spot-kick, which AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez converted.

Ronaldo, however, had the final say when he struck twice during the closing three minutes to complete his treble with two brilliant low finishes past Yann Sommer.

England or Holland will await in Sunday's final at the same Porto venue.

"In terms of adjectives to describe Ronaldo's game – I have used many," Santos said at a post-match press conference.

"I was his coach in 2003 and I could see where he would go. He is a genius. There is genius paintings and sculptures and he is a football genius.

"When someone scores three goals, they are the difference maker."

Santos continued: "It was a tough game, it was well played – two sides who are very strong, playing to win.

"They are strategically well organised, changing their formation.

"We were anxious on the ball and I tried to fix this at half-time. The side improved towards the end of the game.

"They are skilled players who need the ball at their feet to show their quality."

Referee Felix Brych (second right) took his time over a VAR check (PA)
Referee Felix Brych, second right, took his time over a VAR check (Mike Egerton/PA)

On the penalty controversy, Santos said diplomatically: "I am an advocate for VAR, I think it can be very helpful."

On Uefa's website, Ronaldo said either Holland or England would present a challenge in the final.

He said: "Both the Netherlands and England are excellent teams and either will present great opposition.

"I hope that Portugal can win, that the stadium will be full and that the fans can support us like they did today. We are stronger together."

Switzerland, who finished ahead of World Cup runners-up Belgium in their group, had chances – notably early in the first half for Xherdan Shaqiri and also when Benfica forward Haris Seferovic saw his hooked shot clip the crossbar.

Liverpool midfielder Shaqiri told uefa.com: "We were the better team, for sure, but Ronaldo decided the game. This is football sometimes.

Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic (PA)
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic saw his side undone by Ronaldo's genius (Mike Egerton/PA)

"We can't always play well and lose. We have to learn from our mistakes and do better next time."

Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic added: "Congratulations to Portugal. They had street smarts, they had the cherry on top of the cake and that made the difference. Four shots, three goals.

"On the one hand we were up against a very strong opponent, but over 90 minutes we showed we are a strong team and that we can make life for a top side difficult too."


Click here for more stories about Cristiano Ronaldo

Click here for more stories about Portugal

Share this article now:
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match against Uruguay on June 30, 2018
Read Next:
How Portugal could line up against Switzerland
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Click here to log in with Facebook and add your favourite team's news and scores to this panel

6

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 
Tables

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account