Tomas Holes and Patrik Schick scored second-half goals as the Czech Republic dominated proceedings against the 10-men Netherlands, securing a 2-0 victory at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium in Budapest on Sunday to clinch a quarter-final matchup with Denmark.
After denying a scoring opportunity to the last attacker, Matthijs de Ligt was sent for an early shower a few minutes into the second half for handling the ball, the excellent Czech squad, who had had more chances in the game until that moment, went for the jugular. They were able to win easily because the Netherlands was unable to get a shot on target.
The two teams had previously met in the main rounds of this competition during the Euro 2004 group stages, with a Pavel Nedved-led Czech squad coming back from two goals behind to defeat a formidable Dutch team 3-2.
Midway through the first half, three goals were scored in what would turn out to be one of the most exciting matches of that edition. The last-16 match on Sunday didn’t get off to quite the same frantic start. As both sides showed caution early on, Netherlands coach Frank de Boer, who was an unused substitute in the 2004 encounter, saw his side struggle to influence play.
With a couple of well-timed runs, Denzel Dumfries created some fear in the Czech backline, but the Dutch offense, which had scored eight goals in the group stage, struggled to create opportunities.
The greatest chance of the first half fell to Antonin Barak of the Czech Republic, who had the goalkeeper to beat from a few metres away after being put through on goal by Lukas Masopust on a counter-attack. The ball was deflected over the bar by the onrushing De Ligt, who got the tiniest of touches.
Seven minutes into the second half, the game came to life. When Donyell Malen cut past a few defenders to be through on goal, the Netherlands had a chance to take the lead. Malen attempted to round keeper Tomas Vaclik but failed.
The Czechs surged through in a flash, and last defender De Ligt, who had slipped, used his arm to prevent Schick from scoring while also pushing the ball away. After being prompted by VAR to review the incident on the pitchside screen after initially booking him, referee Sergei Karasev sent him out.
The Czech Republic, led by Jaroslav Silhavy, took advantage of the one-man advantage and dominated the game from there. Tomas Kalas headed a corner towards Tomas Holes, who nodded home from close range in the 68th minute to break the deadlock.
Schick scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute, slotting past Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, with Holes providing the assist.
The Czech Republic faces Denmark in the quarterfinals in Baku on Saturday.