'Pure shambles': Football world erupts over 'awful' Euro 2020 drama

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Pictured here, the handball that saw Matthijs de Ligt sent off.
Matthijs de Ligt was given his marching orders after a shambolic second half incident. Pic: Getty

Matthijs de Ligt has been crucified by football fans after a horror red card for the Netherlands, as his side crashed out of the Euro 2020 last-16 courtesy of a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic.

Tomas Holes and Patrik Schick struck in the second half to take the Czechs into the quarter-finals, making the most of their man advantage to upset their more fancied opponents in Budapest.

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Holes powered home a 68th-minute opener in Sunday's last-16 clash after being set up by Tomas Kalas, as the Dutch watched on hopelessly in their own penalty area.

Schick, one of the stars of the tournament so far, made sure of the Czechs' surprise success with a close-range finish 10 minutes from full-time, in front of a capacity crowd that provided a deafening wall of noise at the Puskas Arena for most of an absorbing last-16 contest.

The result could have been so much different for the Dutch if not for a horror moment from Juventus defender De Ligt, who was given his marching orders for a handball just outside the penalty area that was deemed to have denied the Czechs a a goalscoring opportunity.

De Ligt was sent off after a VAR review by Russian referee Sergei Karasev after punching away the ball as he tumbled to the ground in a tussle with Schick.

The Netherlands had largely controlled proceedings up until the crucial second half moment, which De Ligt took responsibility for after the match.

The defender's inexplicable decision ultimately proved costly and sparked a wave of backlash from football fans on social media.

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Czechs make most of numerical advantage

It was a calamitous outcome for the Dutch, who imploded after De Ligt's send off and they will now face some serious soul-searching.

Before that pivotal moment, the Dutch had looked to get on top of their opponents with their overlapping runs and passing ability.

Yet the moment of madness from their 21-year-old centre back swung the balance of the contest towards the Czechs, who needed no second invitation to grab the initiative.

Seen here, Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt walks off after being red carded.
Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt's red card changed the complexion of the game against the Czech Republic. Pic: Getty

The Czechs are now through to face a quarter-final clash with Denmark in Baku on Saturday, turning around their Euro 2020 fortunes, having only reached the knockout phase after finishing third in their group.

The Dutch could have gone ahead before being reduced to 10 men, with fullbacks Denzel Dumfries and Patrick van Aanholt creating several chances with their overlapping runs.

Yet striker Memphis Depay looked out of sorts and Donyell Malen hesitated with several opportunities - no more so than when he was one-on-one with Tomas Vaclik just after the break, only to have the ball snatched away from his feet as he tried to round the keeper.

There was an opportunity for the Czechs when stand-in captain Tomas Soucek glanced a difficult header wide in the 22nd minute and Antonin Barak blasted wide from a tight angle 16 minutes later.

Once De Ligt was dismissed, the Czechs assumed control and the goal came as the Dutch defence was caught static by a set piece that saw Kalas climb above the defence to head back for Holes to score.

The Dutch then sought to throw on some attacking artillery but quickly wilted in the searing heat as Schick made it 2-0 with Holes pulling the ball back for the striker to net his fourth goal of the tournament.

In the day's other round of 16 clash, a rocket from Belgium's Thorgan Hazard knocked reigning champions Portugal out of the tournament to set up a blockbuster quarter-final clash with Italy.

Hazard's swerving shot before half-time sealed a 1-0 win for Belgium and settled a scrappy contest in Seville that never really lived up to its billing as the stand-out tie of the last 16.

with agencies

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