The knockout stage of Euro 2020 is officially underway and we’re already starting to get a few surprises in just about every direction. The first of those came in Budapest last night when the 10-man Netherlands, one of the most impressive teams in the group stage, fell to a surprise 2-0 loss at the hands of the Czech Republic.
Even before the red card for Matthijs de Ligt, we felt as if the Czechs were giving a really good account of themselves. They stayed calm, they were composed on the ball and when the sending off did come, they were the ones who had to take the game by the scruff of the neck – and that’s exactly what happened. They scored twice and kept the Dutch at distance, coming across as the more mature of the two sides, and solidifying that they deserved a spot in the last eight.
Long way to go for Dutch
Donyell Malen should’ve done better with the 1v1 that would’ve given the Netherlands the lead but in reality, they just didn’t look at all ready for a game of this magnitude. They didn’t appear to have any kind of notable structure and if they’re serious about making progress heading into next year’s World Cup, we think a change of leadership is required. Frank de Boer is okay, but he isn’t the sort of manager you can rely on to get you through the dark days and the setbacks.
Wide open bracket
The Czech Republic’s win over the Netherlands truly does set things up in an intense way heading into the final round of 16 games. They’ll be taking on Denmark in the first quarter-final of the “weaker” side of the bracket, with two of England/Germany and Sweden/Ukraine joining them in the other quarter. In comparison to the other half of the draw, which features the likes of France, Spain, Belgium and Italy, thing are as wide open as they could possibly be over here – which will certainly entice English and German fans who are currently preparing for their Wembley clash.
Netherlands: Stekelenburg (6), Blind (6.5), de Ligt (5.5), de Vrij (6.5), van Aanholt (5.5), de Jong (6.5), de Roon (6.5), Dumfries (6.5), Wijnaldum (6), Malen (6.5), Depay (6), Timber (6), Weghorst (6.5), Berghuis (6), Promes (6)
Czech Republic: Vaclick (7), Coufal (7), Celustka (7), Kalas (8), Kaderabek (7), Holes (9), Masopust (6.5), Soucek (7), Barak (7.5), Sevcik (7), Schick (8), Hlozek (6), Kral (6), Sadilek (6), Jankto (6), Krmencik (6)
Referee: Sergey Karasev
Goals: Holes, Schick
Yellow Cards: de Jong, Dumfries, Coufal
Red Cards: de Ligt
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