Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his first goal on his way to a hat-trick. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
An absolutely wondrous hat-trick from the absolutely wondrous Cristiano Ronaldo savaged football from the wreckage of another VAR mes and sent Portugal into the inaugural final of the Nations League. They will play England or the Netherlands on Sunday.
The game was an entertaining one from the off with both sides looking to attack at pace. And on 25 minutes we got the opening goal, Ronaldo striking a free-kick sweetly – though Jan Sommer obliged by guessing which way it would go, incorrectly.
Switzerland, though, had chances before falling behind and chances afterwards, so it was not surprising when they equalised on 57 minutes, though entirely surprising how they equalised. Xherdan Shaqiri, who had a fine night, lifted a clever pass into the path of Steven Zuber; Nelson Semedo challenged, nothing untoward seemed to happen and the ref said no penalty. Then Portugal raced down the other end, Kevin Mbabu fouled Bernardo Silva and the ref said penalty … then checked VAR and awarded one to Switzerland!
Both sides pressed for winner, 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. And he didn’t even look sharp tonight – whoever faces him on Sunday had better look out.