Ronaldo’s hat-trick sends Portugal to Nations League final

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Evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including two late goals, to give Portugal a 3-1 win over Switzerland in a Nations League semi-final featuring an extraordinary VAR incident on Wednesday.

Ronaldo blasted Portugal ahead from a free kick in the 25th minute, his first goal for his country for nearly a year.

But the Swiss equalised with a penalty kick after halftime which will raise more questions over the use of the VAR system.

After a largely anonymous second half, Ronaldo suddenly sprang to life.

He scored twice in the last three minutes to complete the 53rd hat-trick of his career and the seventh for his country.

By this, the Juventus player showed that even at 34 he is always a threat.

His goals — his first for his country since last year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia — rescued Portugal.

This was after the Swiss had dominated for the final half hour and threatened to snatch a shock win.

“There’s no adjective to describe him,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. “He’s a genius. You can be a genius in art, and in sculpture and he is a football genius.”

“It was an intense match, very hard-fought, against a very well-organised Swiss team,” he added.

Portugal play the winners of Thursday’s semi-final between England and the Netherlands with the final in Porto on Sunday.


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