Netherlands’ center-back, Matthijs de Ligt has blamed himself for the 2-0 defeat his country suffered at the hands of the Czech Republic on Sunday night, June 27.
The Czech Republic who are seen as one of the underdogs in the ongoing Euro 2020 stunned the Netherlands out of the tournament in the round of 16 stage of the competition with two second-half goals.
Before the two goals came, Matthijs de Ligt, a 21-year-old Dutch defender who plays for Juventus, decided to use his hands to stop the ball when the Czech Republic forward Patrik Schick was goal-bound. Hence, he got a straight red in the 55th minute of the game.
His absence and the fact that the Netherlands had to play with 10-men gave the Czech Republic more room to torment a Dutch side that was rated as one of the favorites to win the tournament.
Though the teammates of Matthijs de Ligt enjoyed more of the ball possession, Czech Republic proved that they wanted it more by recording 12 shots, five of which were on target. While the Netherlands only enjoyed 6 shots and none was on target.
After 13 minutes of playing with 10-men and without Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch team could no longer handle the pressure from the Czech Republicans. Hence, Tomas Holes broke the deadlock in the 68th minute.
Within 12 minutes after Czech Republica took the lead, the country’s highest goalscorer in the Euro 2020, Patrik Schick made it 2-0 in the 80th minute to increase his goal tally to 4 in four games. He is now a goal away to equal the 5 goals Cristiano Ronaldo scored before Belgium knocked out Portugal from the tournament on Sunday.
After the 2-0 win over the Netherlands on Sunday, Matthijs de Ligt stressed that his country lost the match because he decided to use his hands to stop the ball.
He said: “We basically lost the match because of what I did. Of course, it feels bad. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have let the ball bounce.
“I had it under control. The ball came and I let it bounce. I fell to the ground and got pushed, which made me use my hands.
“The moment changed the game and I feel responsible. I saw how the guys fought after and I’m proud of it. But I feel bad about the incident.”
Despite telling Dutch public broadcaster NOS that it was his fault that the Netherlands lost the game, the head coach of the country, Frank de Boer came out to insist that he as the coach of the side was responsible for the loss.
He noted that his team was good enough to achieve “everything” but they could not do enough in the round of 16 after winning all their group games in the tournament.
Their exit has made them the first team in the history of the European Championship to be knocked out of the tournament in the second round despite winning all their games in the group stage.
“You can always blame it on me”, coach Frank de Boer said.
“I am responsible at the end of the day. I need to take a look in the mirror. I think this group can achieve everything but now the emotions are raw.
“We will have a big hangover. I will take this bitter pill tonight and afterward, we will see what happens.”
After the stunning victory over the Netherlands, Czech Republic will face Denmark in the quarter-finals stage of the competition on Saturday, July 3, 2021.