Fans left disappointed after Dutch team loses 2-0 to Czech Republic
Almost six million people tuned in on Sunday evening to watch the Netherlands take on the Czech Republic in Budapest. After three fairly convincing wins in the group round, fans were optimistic about the Dutch team’s chances, but were left bitterly disappointed after losing 2-0.
The Netherlands suffers disappointing loss in Budapest
With many football fans concerned the Netherlands would have to face off against Portugal, France, or Germany, most were relieved to hear the team’s round of 16 match would be against the Czech Republic. Going into the game, the Netherlands were the favourites, but pundits were quick to remind fans that this wouldn’t be an easy win - over the last 25 years, the Netherlands has lost five matches against the Czechs, winning only three.
Things started well in the first half, but as the teams returned after half time everything turned sour for the Netherlands. Matthijs de Ligt was sent off in the 55th minute for a handball, leaving the team one man down. The Czechs took quick advantage of this, with Tomás Holes scoring their first goal in the 68th minute, followed by Patrik Schick securing the win with a second goal only nine minutes before the end of the game.
The loss means the Netherlands - ranked 14th in the world - misses out on a place in the quarter-finals, while the Czech Republic - ranked 40th in the world - travel on to Baku where they will play Denmark on July 3.
De Ligt takes responsibility for the Dutch team's loss
The Dutch team had a number of promising opportunities to score, as Donyell Malen had the chance to take the Netherlands into the lead early on in the second half, but the Czech defence proved too strong. Coach Frank de Boer then made the controversial decision to bring on Quincy Promes as a replacement for Malen.
De Ligt was quick to take responsibility for the loss, telling the NOS “We lost the game because of my actions, and that feels very frustrating.” The 21-year-old praised both the attitude and determination of his teammates and the skill of the Czech team: “The Czech Republic is a physically strong team and we had a hard time with that. It was a fifty-fifty match, so my red card made the difference. It is very painful to drop out like this."
Speaking at the post-match press conference on Sunday, De Boer suggested he would like to continue as the coach for the Dutch team, saying that now “was not the time to evaluate” whether he would stay on in the position. He did, however, acknowledge that the team shouldn’t be satisfied with their performance. “We didn’t play well," he said. "If we did we would have continued in the European Championship. We have to evaluate and see what can be done better next time."