Netherlands stunned after Czech Republic capitalise on costly red card

Date published: Sunday 27th June 2021 6:54 - Steve Pearson

Tomas Holes Czech Republic celebration v Netherlands, Euro 2020

The Netherlands bowed out of Euro 2020 at the Last 16 stage after a Matthijs De Ligt red card proved pivotal against the Czech Republic.

In what on paper appears to be the easier half of the draw, both the Netherlands and Czech Republic  had high hopes of making a significant impression on Euro 2020. Budapest was the stage for the Last 16 tie, and with plenty of travelling Oranje support in full voice, the Dutch set the tempo with a fast start.

Near misses came and went for Matthijs De Ligt and Donyell Malen, but for the most part, the Czech backline stood firm with Dutch attackers often getting caught offside.

The visitors did offer a threat in attack, though their rare opportunities to venture forward often resulted in errant crosses from wide.

Neither side could forge a clear opening until the 37th minute when the Czechs came within a whisker of springing a surprise.

Sloppy Dutch play down the left surrendered possession in midfield. A fast break saw the ball worked well to Antonin Barak inside the area, but De Ligt recovered well to produce a heroic last-ditch block to preserve parity.

Netherlands spurned a glorious opportunity to take the lead soon after the break. A hopeful long ball caught the Czech backline out, allowing Denzel Dumfries to race towards goal. With Malen in support and a simple lofted pass away, Dumfries overhit his pass to let Czech Republic off the hook.

Malen then took matters into his own hands when racing away from a pair of would-e defenders. With just the goalkeeper to beat, the forward fluffed his lines by allowing Tomáš Vaclík to smother the ball when attempting to round the goalkeeper.

The Dutch were on top, but were dealt a major blow when De Ligt received a straight red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

The centre-half grabbed the ball when attempting to atone for his slip, and after a brief VAR review, saw his initial yellow card upgraded to red.

The man-advantage almost told after the hour mark when Pavel Kaderabek appeared destined to score. His placed effort was on track to nestle inside the far post but for the crucial block from Dumfries.

The tide had turned and the breakthrough soon came through Tomas Holes. A free-kick picked out Tomas Kalas at the back post. He nodded the ball back towards where it came before Holes applied the finishing touch from close range.

With the Netherlands pushing more and more bodies forward, Patrik Schick put the game to bed when tucking home Czech Republic’s second after a neat cut-back from Holes.

The Czech Republic’s reward is a quarter final tie with Denmark, with the winner of that clash England’s semi-final opponent should the Three Lions progress to the final four.

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