After seething at Cristiano Ronaldo’s petulant reaction to being substituted against South Korea, Portugal’s coach, Fernando Santos, opted to sit him for the team’s knockout-round clash today against Switzerland. Santos hinted at the possibility when asked on Monday about Ronaldo’s status, telling reporters in Qatar that he provides the lineup in the locker room and that he was not about to change.
“Otherwise,” he said, “the matter is over and everyone is available.”
Though it keeps one of the world’s elite scorers on the bench to start, the measure could be as unifying, perhaps, as it is punitive — proof that Santos will not tolerate, or reward, actions that he perceives as potentially jeopardizing the team. Ronaldo came out late in Portugal’s first two group-stage matches, but he was replaced in the 65th minute of its 2-1 loss to South Korea and responded by raising a finger to his lips, as if he were gesturing for quiet.
Here are the lineups, with Pepe elevated to the captaincy:
Portugal: Diogo Costa; Diogo Dalot, Rúben Dias, Pepe, Raphael Guerriero; Otávio, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes; Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Ramos, João Félix.
Switzerland: Yann Sommer; Edimilson Fernandes, Fabian Schär, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodríguez; Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka; Xherdan Shaqiri, Djibril Sow, Ruben Vargas; Breel Embolo.