Every major tournament has a situation where one of the big teams looks strong in the group, but if anything they peak too early and it just leads to a shock defeat once the knock-out stages get going.
Frank De Boer took a lot of criticism for going with three at the back going into the tournament, but it didn’t appear to be a problem as they looked strong in their opening games.
The problem with that formation is it does require a big rethink once someone is sent off, and De Ligt’s red card came at the worst time when you consider that the Czech Republic were already well in the game at that point.
The big “what if” moment comes when Donyell Malen went through on goal moments before the red card, but he tried to be too clever by rounding the keeper and the moment was gone.
It now looks like De Boer has paid the price for those decisions backfiring, and it’s reported that he’s been sacked:
Frank de Boer is no longer Dutch national team head coach, official decision has been made as he parts ways with KNVB – statement confirms. ??? #DeBoer
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 29, 2021
He hadn’t been in the job for too long after replacing Ronald Koeman so it may come as a surprise, but they have a talented squad and should be strong enough to go far in the next World Cup if they get the appointment for his successor correct.