UEFA Nations League
Result: Portugal 3-1 Switzerland
Date: 05 June 2019
Venue: Estadio do Dragao
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning hat-trick to guide his team to a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League semi-final clash at Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday evening.
Ronaldo once again came to the rescue of his side, netting a superb free-kick before producing two world-class finishes in the last five minutes to give A Selecao victory just when the match looked destined for extra time.
Highly-rated Benfica starlet Joao Felix was included in the Portugal starting lineup for his international debut.
Xherdan Shaqiri had an early chance for Switzerland. The ball bounced around in the Portugal box and Steven Zuber showed good awareness to knock the ball into Shaqiri's path, who had just Rui Patricio to beat but the Wolves goalkeeper made the save at his near post.
Portugal were looking all over the place in the opening exchanges. Denis Zakaria was left in all sorts of space high up on the right and he played the ball across goal to Haris Seferovic, who blazed his first-time shot over the crossbar from a good position wastefully.
In the 14th minute, Manuel Akanji gave the ball away in a dangerous area straight to Bernardo Silva, who played in Cristiano Ronaldo but the Juventus frontman skewed his effort wide of the post.
Soon after, Shaqiri delivered in to the box but Seferovic could not guide his header on target.
In the 25th minute, A Selecao won a free-kick after Kevin Mbabu brought down Ronaldo 30 yards out. Ronaldo dusted himself off and struck a thunderbolt of a free-kick in to the bottom left hand-corner, with Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer rooted to the spot.
Five minutes before the interval, Shaqiri fed Mbabu in down the right-hand side, who crossed to the feet of Seferovic in the box, but the lanky Swiss striker's first time effort unluckily clipped the top of the crossbar.
Switzerland began the second half on the front foot and were awarded a penalty when Nelson Semedo shoved Seferovic in the back. AC Milan left-back Ricardo Rodriguez converted the spot-kick with Patricio unable to keep it out despite diving the right way and getting a hand to the ball.
Portugal lost centre-back Pepe to injury and he was replaced by Jose Fonte on the hour mark. Shaqiri was bossing the game with the Swiss looking more likely to win the game in normal time.
Despite Switzerland being on the front foot for most of the second-half, Ronaldo popped up three minutes from time to break Swiss hearts. Silva was played in on the overlap down the right-hand side and squared the ball in to the path of Ronaldo, who drilled his first-time effort in to the bottom left-hand corner.
There was still time for the five-time Champions League winner to grab his hat-trick. The hosts broke quickly on the counter, with substitute Goncalo Guedes playing his skipper in down the left-hand side, who cut inside on his right and curled his effort expertly in to the left-hand corner to put the icing on the cake.
Portugal will play either England or the Netherlands in the final on Sunday.