‘Big players were all making mistakes’: Eni Aluko and Nigel de Jong say Wijnaldum and Stekelenburg must share the blame with sent-off Holland star De Ligt after shock defeat by Czech Republic in Euro 2020
Eni Aluko and Nigel de Jong criticised Holland’s character after their 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic sent them crashing out of Euro 2020.
The Dutch went a man down early in the second half after Matthijs de Ligt was sent off for a deliberate handball, having stumbled and grabbed the ball to stop Patrik Schick running through on goal.
But while Holland fell apart after the red card, Aluko believes those left on the pitch have to take just as much blame as the Juventus defender.
Eni Aluko and Nigel de Jong believe Matthijs cannot take all the blame for Holland’s defeat
The Dutch crashed out of Euro 2020 after losing 2-0 and falling apart after the red card
‘De Ligt did it because he knew he was the last man,’ Aluko told ITV Sport.
‘Netherlands didn’t react to it. Big players – Wijnaldum, Stekelenburg were all making mistakes.
‘We said the main way the Czechs were going to score was from a set piece, it’s a stupid foul from Van Aanholt.
‘Before the match we thought Netherlands would win but you can’t call it. Czechs will be confident they can push on and do well this tournament.’
Aluko criticised Holland’s big players for how they responded to the pressure put on them
Quincy Promes was brought on after the red card in place on Donyell Malen, leaving Daley Blind and Patrick van Aanholt as part of a back five lacking height.
That ultimately proved costly when Tomas Holes gave the Czechs the lead from a set piece, and De Jong criticised the approach of Dutch boss Frank de Boer.
‘We had the players on the pitch to change the system to a 4-2-3 or 4-4-1 but still played with 5 defenders at the back,’ De Jong said.
‘It looked like De Boer was defending the 0-0 as long as possible. At the end of the day, there was no belief after the red.
De Jong was frustrated with how conservative Dutch boss Frank de Boer was after the red card
The former Holland midfielder put the defeat down to a lack of character in the second half
‘There was a lack of belief, a lack of intensity, a lack of character. We really missed a leader out there. (Did they miss Van Dijk?) Yes.’
Holland’s fate was sealed when Patrik Schick scored his fourth goal of the tournament, after Holes burst through weak challenges from the Dutch midfield to set him up.
De Jong felt that period of play encapsulated Holland’s display after the red card.
‘Wijnaldum steps out of a challenge in midfield (before the second goal),’ De Jong said. ‘That sums up the character we were missing, the real effort to try to win the game.
‘It’s not going to be easy for De Boer to open the papers tomorrow and see what they’re saying about him.’
De Boer is likely to come under big pressure now after exiting Euro 2020 in timid fashion