The Czech Republic pulled off the shock of the European Championship so far by defeating the Netherlands 2-0 in Budapest on Sunday and booking their place in the last eight of the competition.
In an eventful opening in Budapest, both teams were able to create opportunities. Frank de Boer’s Oranje soon hit their stride, though, and the Czechs struggled to deal with their pace. However, Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay spurned chances to secure a lead.
Donyell Malen also wasted a glorious chance to put the Netherlands ahead after he raced through one-on-one with goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik but failed to hit the target.
Against the run of play, Tomáš Souček glanced wide Petr Ševčík’s cross and Antonín Barák flashed over from close range, as Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side regained a foothold.
Perhaps the key moment came shortly after half-time. After Donyell Malen’s surge from deep was thwarted by keeper Tomáš Vaclík, almost immediately the Netherlands were reduced to ten men as defender Matthijs De Ligt’s handball denied Patrik Schick a clear run on goal.
The Dutch looked rattled and the Czechs capitalised. Tomas Holes nodded in the opener from Barák’s free-kick 13 minutes after De Ligt’s red card.
Holes then turned provider for Schick, who doubled the Czech’s lead in the 80th minute and in the process scored his fourth goal of the competition.
The Czech Republic, ranked 40th in the world, 24 places behind the Dutch, went on to silence those in orange at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, setting up a quarter-final with Denmark on Saturday, 3 July.
In the other round 16 game on Sunday, Portugal’s defence of their UEFA EURO title came to an end in the round of 16 thanks to Thorgan Hazard’s winner for Belgium in Seville.
Portugal had the early sniffs of goal with Diogo Jota dragging wide and Cristiano Ronaldo, seeking to become the outright top scorer in the history of international football, stinging the palms of Thibaut Courtois with a free-kick.
The Red Devils failed to trouble Rui Patrício until close to the interval, then Hazard’s vicious swerving effort fizzed past the Portugal No1 to break the deadlock.
Roberto Martínez lost the services of Kevin De Bruyne – and their rhythm – shortly after half-time but their defensive resolve remained, Diogo Jota off target with a rare opening for Fernando Santos’s frustrated outfit. Belgium also lost captain Eden Hazard to a complaint late on.
The Seleção came on strong as their grip on the trophy weakened, Rúben Dias’s header testing Courtois and Raphaël Guerreiro firing against the post, but this was the Belgians’ day.
The win means Belgium have set up a mouth-watering meeting with Italy, another undefeated team in the competition, on Friday.