Following some encouraging displays in the group stage, Netherlands’ Euro 2020 hopes came crashing at the hands of Czech Republic in the round of 16.
Whilst most of the Oranje stars displayed sub-par performances, Matthijs de Ligt came out as the ultimate culprit.
During the second half – and while it was a still a goalless affair – the Juventus defender was sent-off following a deliberate handball.
The center back was slipping to the ground, and tried to prevent Patrik Schick from scoring at all costs, and ended up handing the ball in an obvious manner.
Minutes later, the Czechs took the lead, and then added another, securing the first major upset of the tournament.
Despite their rivalry in Serie A, de Ligt received some backing from his Netherlands teammate and Inter defender, Stefan de Vrij.
“It wasn’t his fault. Matthijs has a great sense of responsibility, and is very mature for his age, even though he is still very young, but I don’t think it was his fault today,” said the Nerazzurri star in an interview with NOS via JuveNews.
“De Ligt has time to grow, he has already made great strides and is a great defender. Of course for him today it was not easy, but I’m sure is getting stronger.”
The former Ajax captain joined Juventus in the summer of 2019, and is considered to be one of the best rising defenders in the world.