So much so that someone other than Patrik Schick finally scored for the Czechs at the European Championship before the striker scored his fourth goal of the tournament.
Those goals gave the Czech Republic a 2-0 victory over a Netherlands side forced to play most of the second half with 10 men. It also allowed the Czechs to qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
The turning point came in the 55th minute when Dutch center-back Matthijs de Ligt was sent off for a handball under pressure from Schick. The red card was followed by a video review.
Midfielder Tomas Holes then gave the Czechs the lead with a powerful point blank header in the 68th minute following a free kick from the right. He sprinted to the left of the penalty area and squared the ball to prepare Schick for his goal in the 80th.
Schick scored both goals in the team’s first 2-0 win over Scotland, then scored in the 1-1 draw against Croatia. Only Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo has more goals at Euro 2020 with five.
The Czechs will then face Denmark in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Czechs reached the last eight in a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2012, when they lost to Portugal. Ronaldo scored the winner that day. They have not qualified in the last three World Cups and finished last in their group at Euro 2016.
On a hot evening at the 67,215-seat Puskas Arena in Budapest, the Dutch team paid for not creating enough chances. Then the Czechs made them pay even more.
With Schick practically on his back inside the penalty area, De Ligt slipped and retrieved the ball with his right hand. Referee Sergei Karasev awarded a free kick and, after running to check his TV screen, sent De Ligt off with a red card.
The incident came just moments after the Dutch could have taken the lead when striker Donyell Malen came out on top. He failed to get around goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik with an empty net waiting.
When De Ligt was sent off, Netherlands coach Frank de Boer knocked out Malen in a surprising move that summed up a poor performance for a side that had won all three of their group matches.
Striker Memphis Depay and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum have scored five goals in those group matches but barely made any impact on Sunday as the favorite Dutchman failed to even hit the target against the Czechs .
The referee used another video in the 60th minute to rule out a handball penalty from Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries.
Moments later, Dumfries blocked a shot from left-back Pavel Kaderabek. But the Czechs’ next chances could not be stopped.
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