A $107 million defender cost his team its place at Euro 2020 with a calamitous error that ended in a red card

De Ligt looks down in horror after being sent off for the Netherlands at Euro 2020
Matthijs de Ligt. Getty/ANP Sport
  • Matthijs de Ligt has claimed responsibility for his country’s shock exit from Euro 2020.
  • The defender was sent off early in the second-half as the Netherlands lost to the Czech Republic.
  • “The moment changed the game and I feel responsible,” he said.
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Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt has claimed responsibility for his country’s shock last 16 exit from Euro 2020 at the hands of the Czech Republic, saying “we basically lost the match because of what I did.”

The 21-year-old – who joined Juventus from Ajax in 2019 in a deal worth $107 million, and is one of the most expensive defenders in soccer history – was sent off for a handball early in the second-half after he denied Patrik Schick a clear goal scoring opportunity.

De Ligt had slipped while trying to head clear a bouncing ball before knocking it out of Schick’s path with his hand as he fell to the floor.

Just minutes after De Ligt’s red card, the Netherlands conceded courtesy of a goal from Tomáš Holeš, before Schick sealed a shock victory for the Czechs with 10 minutes to play.

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“Of course, it feels bad, we basically lost the match because of what I did,” De Ligt told Dutch public broadcaster NOS after the match.

“In hindsight, I shouldn’t have let the ball bounce. I had it under control. The ball came and I let it bounce. I fell to the ground and got pushed, which made me use my hands.

“The moment changed the game and I feel responsible. I saw how the guys fought after and I’m proud of it. But I feel bad about the incident.”

The youngster, however, was given the support of his manager Frank de Boer, who said he instead should be to blame for his side’s defeat.

“I am responsible at the end of day. I need to take a look in the mirror. I think this group can achieve everything but now the emotions are raw.

“We will have a big hangover. I will take this bitter pill tonight and afterwards we will see what happens.”