The World Cup arrived with six Magpies playing in the group stages: Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope, and Callum Wilson for England, Garang Kuol is with Australia, Fabian Schar is part of the Swiss team, and Bruno plays for Brazil.
Of course, these being Newcastle players, all of them made it to the Round of 16 alive and well. Ah, feels good for the Toon...
Here’s a recap of all that went on Tuesday, Dec. 6, with more updates to come in the following days as games keep getting played with the World Cup into the knockout stages.
Fabian Schar (Switzerland)
Match: SWI vs Portugal (World Cup)
Cristiano Ronaldo not starting for Portugal in yesterday’s match filled more headlines than the Iberian side did by winning their game against Switzerland by a monster score of 6-1.
It is written his proverbial wall at this point but to each his own. Ronaldo entered the pitch in exchange for Joao Felix in the 73rd minute and of course, he did not score a goal, which happens more often than not these days.
Portugal dominated the Swiss left and right, front and back. It was a true no-show from the Switzerland international men. Pepe—the one turning 40 years old next February—scored in the 33rd what already was the second goal for the Portuguese after Gonçalo Ramos opened the game in the 17th minute.
Ramos, replacing Ronaldo in the Portugal XI, went on to score two more (51st, 67th) for a hat-trick at the brightest of stages. Between Ramos’ second and third goals there were two more, one for each side: Raphael Guerreiro put up the 4-0 and Manuel Akanji scored the 4-1 and lone Swiss goal.
AC Milan sensation Rafael Leao bagged the final goal of the match already inside added time—as if more punches were needed.
The story of the game was Ronaldo, yes, but it also was the decision made by Switzerland’s manager Murat Yakin who, in this match of all games, decided to make a formation change using a 5-3-2 after using two center-backs and two full-backs prior to this game.
Good for Fabian Schar, who got to start the game along with Akanji and Ricardo Rodriguez. Bad for Switzerland, who got absolutely demolished on the Qatari grass.
Schar wasn’t good, got a yellow card, and perhaps only Rodriguez was worse than our lad. Couldn’t be. Actually, it was never going to be if we’re honest.
England still alive and facing France while boasting the last-standing Magpie-men.