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Euro 2020: Czechs stun Netherlands to seal quarter-final spot

  • June 27, 2021

Forward Patrik Schick scored his fourth goal of the tournament as the Czech Republic stunned the Netherlands with a deserved 2-0 victory in their European Championship last-16 clash.

The Czechs created the better chances in Sunday’s match against their more fancied opponents, who were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Matthijs De Ligt received a red card for a handball.

The Czechs booked a quarter-final meeting with Denmark in Baku on Saturday when Tomas Holes headed in at the back post in the 68th minute after Tomas Kalas had steered the ball into his path.

Holes then turned provider as he set up Schick for a second, the striker slotting the ball coolly past veteran Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to continue his dream tournament.

The Czech Republic’s players celebrate after the match [Bernadett Szabo/Pool via Reuters]

The Dutch challenge was dealt a blow on 55 minutes when centre back Matthijs De Ligt was shown a red card for a handball just outside his own box. He was initially given a yellow card, but referee Sergei Karasev changed his mind after a Video Assistant Referee check.

Dutch lack cutting edge

Having emerged as Group C winners with a 100 percent record after playing all three of their games in Amsterdam, Frank de Boer’s fancied Netherlands were on the road for the first time in the tournament.

Roared on by boisterous ranks of orange-clad fans in a packed Puskas Arena, the only Euro 2020 venue not to limit stadium capacity as an anti-coronavirus precaution, it was the livelier Dutch who dominated the opening exchanges.

On eight minutes a floated cross by Danny Blind evaded Tomas Vaclik in the Czech goal but De Ligt’s header across the goalmouth was sliced well wide by Memphis Depay.

Then Denzel Dumfries, raiding on both wings, was released on the left soon after but, with Vaclik again flailing, couldn’t direct his header into the open goal.

The Netherlands’ Stefan de Vrij, Ryan Gravenberch and Georginio Wijnaldum look dejected after the match [Bernadett Szabo/Pool via Reuters]

But after soaking up the early pressure Jaroslav Silhavy’s well-organised side, who qualified as one of the four best third-placed sides, began posing threats of their own with a series of dangerous counter-attacks.

Tomas Soucek, who took over the captain’s armband from the injured Vladimir Darida, glanced a dangerous header just wide at full stretch midway through the period.

Then Antonin Barak, fed by Lukas Masopust, blasted a left-footed effort high and wide when through on goal approaching the break.

Straight red card

Early in the second period the advantage swung decisively the Czechs’ way when De Ligt was sent off by the Russian referee Sergei Karasev after a VAR review.

The Netherlands’ Matthijs de Ligt is shown a red card by referee Sergei Karasev [Laszlo Balogh/Pool via Reuters]

Bayer Leverkusen striker Schick, scorer of all three Czech goals in the group stage, put De Ligt under pressure, prompting the Juventus defender to blatantly knock the ball away with his hand to deny a goalscoring opportunity.

Midway through the half, with the Czechs scenting blood, Pavel Kaderabek should have got the opener while in space in the area but saw his shot blocked.

Then 68 minutes in a curled free-kick from the right by Barak was headed across goal by Tomas Kalas to the unmarked Holes who had time to place his header and spark bedlam among the Czech fans.

Ten minutes from the end Schick sealed the win with his fourth goal of Euro 2020, slotting home with his left foot at the near post after the rampant Holes pounced on a loose ball and laid on a clever cut-back.

In truth, a man down, the hapless Dutch never looked like catching the Czechs who were comfortable at the end, chalking up their fourth straight win over the Oranje in front of jubilant fans.

The Czech Republic’s Tomas Holes celebrates scoring their first goal [Bernadett Szabo/Pool via Reuters]

Article source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/27/euro-2020-czech-rep-stun-netherlands-to-seal-quarter-final-spot

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