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Czech Republic topples Netherlands after Matthijs de Ligt is sent off for handball

Matthjis de Ligt made a costly second-half mistake that helped the Czech Republic upset the Netherlands on Sunday.

Patrik Schick of Czech Republic celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Czech Republic at Puskas Arena on June 27, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Few soccer fans thought the Czech Republic had a chance to upset the Netherlands in Sunday’s round of 16 game in the 2021 European Championship, but the underdogs did just that with a 2-0 win. The Netherlands took charge in the opening 15 minutes of the match before the Czech Republic put them on their heels with a series of dangerous counter-attacks. The game was scoreless through the first half, and the tides turned when the favorite’s star defender made a costly mistake 10 minutes into the second half.

Matthijs de Ligt stumbled while trying to hold off Patrik Shick in the second half and resorted to slapping the ball just outside his team’s box to prevent a quality goal-scoring opportunity. The star center back was booked for a yellow card in the 55th minute, and the decision was upgraded to a red card following a VAR check. It didn’t take long for the Czech Republic to capitalize on going a man up.

Tomas Holes opened the flood gates by scoring his second-ever international goal on a header in the 68th minute. The Netherlands attempted to salvage the game by adding more scoring potential to the pitch, but Quincy Promes and Wout Weghorst had little impact before Schick netted his fourth tournament goal in the 80th minute.

The Netherlands scored a tournament-high eight goals during the group stage but didn’t manage to put one shot on target against the Czech Republic’s stingy defense. The Czech Republic is set to take on Denmark in the quarterfinals on Saturday, July 3rd.