Euro 2020: “We lost the match because of my actions,” says De Ligt
The Netherlands was knocked out of Euro 2020 on Sunday with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic in Budapest. Defender Matthijs de Ligt – who was sent off early in the second half with the score at 0-0 – claimed responsibility for the loss. “We lost the match because of my actions,” he said in an interview.
“We had the match under control and then comes this ball. I let it bounce; what happened afterwards was not good. Then I fell to the ground and I got a little nudge, which is why I touched it with my hand.”
The Netherlands were in a balanced affair with the Czechs up until the red card just after half-time. De Ligt added, “That changed the game…My red card made the difference.”
De VAR grijpt in, de scheidsrechter gaat kijken en constateert een handsbal. Rood voor de Ligt. pic.twitter.com/awMYMWRQey— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) June 27, 2021
Manager Frank de Boer came in for heavy criticism before the Euros, and that is unlikely to go away now the Netherlands’ tournament is over so early. Shortly before being reduced to ten men, striker Donyell Malen missed the best opportunity of the match to put the Dutch in front.
On Malen, de Boer said to NOS, “If Donyell makes it, then there is nothing wrong.”
Wat een kans voor Malen!— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) June 27, 2021
Hij gaat alleen op Vaclík af en moet scoren, maar doet het niet... pic.twitter.com/2jyhCMHfkF
As for his team’s performance as a whole, de Boer added: “Malen could have gotten two if Denzel Dumfries had calmed his ball down; that was also a ‘100% chance’. I had the feeling that we were the better side. You know you have to be top against such a tough opponent and we were not.”
“The final ball was not good enough. It is obvious that we wanted to create more. [The Czechs] had a good chance at the first post and that was it, in fact. I had the feeling that we had control. In such matches against such opponents it is only about one or two moments."
Midfielder Frenkie de Jong was impressed with his old teammate De Ligt facing the cameras after his error, but thought it was a bit over-the-top to suggest the defeat was his fault. “It was not only his fault. It seemed like we were a little tired.”
“This was probably the biggest match in our careers. Our play didn’t stay on the ground and after the red card we definitely had it difficult. We knew that it would be a tricky game.”
He added, “We played attacking football in the group stage and we made the most goals. But ultimately it’s a bad tournament if you go out in the last sixteen.”