Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, who plays for Juventus at the club level, has taken the responsibility for his side’s shocking 2-0 loss against a seemingly weaker Czech Republic side in the round of 16 of the Euro 2020.
In the 54th minute of the fixture at Budapest, while the game was still scoreless and everything in balance at that point, De Ligt suffered a critical slip while shielding a ball from Patrik Schick, which eventually resulted in him moving the ball away with his hand and received a red card for denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, according to the match official.
Since then, the Czechs took matter in their own hands and dominated the game with a man advantage, ultimately winning it 2-0 courtesy to goals from Holes and Schick.
“We actually lost because of my action, that feels very annoying” Matthijs De Ligt said as he took responsibility for Netherlands’ round of 16 ousting to Czech Republic
De ligt admitted that his sending off was a crucial turning point in the match, following which Czech Republic grasped the game by its neck, ultimately winning it 2-0.
“We actually lost because of my action, that feels very annoying. Of course this is bad. We had the game under control and then a ball comes, I let it bounce, which in hindsight was not good, I got a light push and fell, after which I handled it.”
“In the end this moment changes the game and I can’t let that happen to me. I watched the last few minutes as the team struggled. I really blame myself.” said De Ligt in his post match interview to NOS.
“I didn’t feel like it slipped out of our hands. We were in control and had some chances in the first half. In the second half, of course, we had the one on one with the keeper. The red card made the difference. The Czech Republic is a physically strong team that does not shy away from duels. We had a hard time with that. It was a 50-50 match where the red card made the difference.” added the Juventus marquee defender.
“This European Championship was a golden opportunity, but if you’re eliminated like that, it’s very painful. We did well in the group stage. Then you fly out in the last-16 against the Czech Republic. That’s very sour.” De Ligt could only lament.
Even Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum admitted that the incident turned the tide of the game massively and took it out of their hands.
“After that red card, yes [we were powerless]. Then it was harder for us to put pressure on. If we had the ball, we couldn’t get out. We lost the ball very quickly.” Wijnaldum was quoted saying.”
“I don’t think we handled the way the Czech Republic put pressure on us well. We also didn’t handle the spaces we were given properly. In the second half we get a good chance and we don’t take it. Then we don’t pay attention once and we get a red card.”
“I have a crazy feeling. I thought we grew in the tournament. We also felt that in the team. Before the tournament there was a lot of criticism, about the way we played and things like that. We’ve turned that around well. Then this is very painful, but unfortunately the reality.” Wijnaldum added on, clearly upset.
While Netherlands head home following their loss, Czech Republic will be facing Denmark in the Quarter finals of the Euro 2020 at the Baku Olympic stadium in Azerbaijan.