Ronaldo hat-trick fires Portugal into UEFA Nations League final

Ronaldo's free kick opened the scoring midway through the first half, but the Swiss levelled when the referee overturned his decision to award Portugal a penalty to give a spot-kick at the other end after a VAR review, and Ricardo Rodriguez levelled.

But when their deserved equaliser arrived it came in freakish fashion, with Silva going down and appearing to win a penalty for Portugal before VAR intervened.

Both Netherlands and Portugal registered a 3-1 victory in the semi-finals against England and Switzerland respectively to secure their spot in the final.

Three days on from losing their semi-final to Holland due to two defensive gifts and a narrow offside call, the Three Lions returned to a far quieter Estadio D Afonso Henriques for the battle for bronze.

"We always say "do what it takes to win a game" and I was a bit nervous taking my pen, but I'm not nervous saving them". "I was his coach in 2003 and I could see where he'd go", he said, via UEFA. He is a genius. "He's a genius. There's genius paintings and sculptures and he's a football genius!".

Both sides pressed for victor, but just as it looked as though none was forthcoming Ronaldo, who'd had a dog of game, scored belters on 88 and 90 minutes because that's just jaw the universe works. The players adapted really well, we changed the shape, and they carried that out really well and we should have won the game.

Incensed by the decision, the hosts struggled to build any rhythm as the game appeared to drift towards extra-time.

England hit the woodwork for a second time 10 minutes into the second after Shar deflected Rose's fine left wing cross goalward before keeper Yann Sommer tipped the deflected ball onto the post. Switzerland had surprisingly eliminated Belgium to reach the last four. "I am sure that we are going to be treated to an excellent spectacle, our fans will be right behind us spurring us on and hopefully we can get the result". This is football sometimes.

"If he had started today we would have put him in the spotlight and every action would have been analysed".

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Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic added: "Congratulations to Portugal".

Gareth Southgate has said he is happier to hear England fans booing opposition players than voicing frustration at his own team.

Ronaldo's exploits in front of goal need little elucidation.

  • Julie Sanders