In the world of football, there are moments that capture the imagination, moments that leave fans in awe. Portugal’s recent Euro 2024 qualifying match against Luxembourg was one such moment. The headline reads, “Portugal player ratings vs Luxembourg: Goncalo Ramos runs the show in 9-0 pummeling, while suspended Cristiano Ronaldo watched from the bench.” It was a night when a rising star illuminated the field, while a football legend watched from the sidelines.
Goncalo Ramos: Portugal’s New No. 9?
As Cristiano Ronaldo, the iconic Portuguese forward, observed from the bench, Goncalo Ramos seized the opportunity to stake his claim as Portugal’s permanent No. 9. He did so with a commanding performance that will be remembered for years to come. Ramos scored twice and set the tone for an 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg, a team that offered little resistance.
From the first whistle, Portugal asserted their dominance. It didn’t take long for them to turn their control of the game into goals. Bruno Fernandes, fresh from a stellar performance against Slovakia, played a pivotal role, delivering a teasing ball into the box for Goncalo Inacio to head home. The second goal came just five minutes later when Ramos weaved through the Luxembourg defense and found the bottom corner of the net. Ramos secured his brace after 30 minutes, extending Portugal’s lead with a close-range shot after a clever assist from Rafael Leao. Inacio added his second just before halftime with a well-placed header.
The second half was no different. Diogo Jota joined the scoring frenzy with a goal, and substitute Ricardo Horta added another with a powerful strike into the roof of the net. Jota, Fernandes, and Joao Felix completed the rout, capping off a resounding victory for a Portuguese side that appeared to thrive without their brightest star.
Player Ratings: The Heroes of the Night
Let’s take a closer look at how the Portuguese players performed on this memorable night:
Diogo Costa (6/10): The goalkeeper had little to do, with only one save to make. It was a relatively quiet night for him.
Nelson Semedo (7/10): Semedo occasionally tried to overcomplicate things, perhaps in an effort to impress the manager. However, he played a solid game overall.
Ruben Dias (7/10): Dias completed the most passes in the match and had a relatively uneventful night in defense, thanks to Portugal’s dominance.
Goncalo Inacio (8/10): Inacio marked his third international cap with two well-taken goals, showing his potential as a rising star in the Portuguese defense.
Diogo Dalot (7/10): Dalot delivered a disciplined performance that allowed Rafael Leao to shine further forward. His reliability is an asset to the team.
Danilo Pereira (7/10): The midfielder, despite seeing little playing time for PSG, provided stability in the midfield, keeping the ball moving as needed.
Bruno Fernandes (9/10): Fernandes was immense in a roaming role, assisting three of the eight goals and dictating play throughout the match. He even deservedly found the net himself.
Bernardo Silva (7/10): Silva, wearing the captain’s armband, had a workmanlike performance. He played the role of the midfield legs, complementing Fernandes’ creativity.
Diogo Jota (8/10): Jota displayed his energy and clinical finishing, hitting the bar in the first half and scoring twice in the second with his trademark composure.
Goncalo Ramos (8/10): Given the chance to shine, Ramos did not disappoint. His goals and energy filled the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence.
Rafael Leao (8/10): Leao’s electric ball control left defenders in the dust, and his assist for Ramos’ goal was nothing short of sublime.
The Substitutes and the Manager’s Decision
The substitutions made by manager Roberto Martinez also played a crucial role in the team’s impressive performance:
Joao Felix (6/10): Although he hardly touched the ball for the first 25 minutes after coming on, Joao Felix made his presence felt by curling a spectacular shot into the top corner.
Joao Cancelo (6/10): Cancelo showcased his signature roaming runs and precise passing. While not at his absolute best, he contributed to the team’s dominance.
Ricardo Horta (7/10): Horta made an immediate impact after being introduced, scoring a fine goal within 10 minutes of his appearance.
Otavio (N/A): Introduced to provide fresh legs, Otavio didn’t have much time to make a significant impact on the game.
Ruben Neves (N/A): Neves, who had fallen out of the international picture under Martinez, didn’t get the opportunity to prove himself in this particular scenario.
Roberto Martinez’s Tactical Mastery
Finally, let’s acknowledge the role of manager Roberto Martinez in this resounding victory. He made the bold decision to field a more attacking side, and it paid off in full. Portugal’s performance was excellent, leaving fans and pundits wondering whether Ronaldo’s place in the starting lineup should be questioned.
In the end, this match was a statement from Portugal—a statement that they possess a wealth of talent beyond Cristiano Ronaldo. Goncalo Ramos, in particular, showcased his potential to lead the line for the national team. As we look ahead to Euro 2024, Portuguese fans have reason to be excited about the future of their team, even as they continue to admire the legacy of their greatest footballing icon.
The night belonged to Goncalo Ramos, the rising star who ran the show, and to Portugal, a team that demonstrated their depth and quality. It was a night of footballing magic, one that will be remembered for years to come.
Goncalo Ramos Shines as Portugal Thrashes Luxembourg 9-0: Is Ronaldo’s Reign Over?