JOHANNESBURG - It was not the ending he
hoped for but captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst said his Dutch
side should be proud of what they had achieved at the World Cup.
The vanquished skipper played his last official game at
Soccer City on Sunday, in the biggest match of his career, but
ended up limping off to an ignominious end, substituted in extra
time as the Netherlands lost 1-0 to Spain in the final.
"To give up a goal four minutes from the end means we were
so close but still so far away," said the 35-year-old, who in
May announced his impending retirement from the game.
"But I'm glad that I achieved this (playing in a World Cup
final) but the disappointment at the way the tournament ended
makes it difficult right now. But we can be proud of what we
"If we had scored first it could have been a different
ending. You don't get many chances against Spain and it was
disappointing not to have scored from at least one of the two
chances we had."
Van Bronckhorst, who made his club debut in 1994 and four
years later joined Rangers followed by spells at Arsenal and
Barcelona before returning to Feyenoord in 2007, went off to
barely a cheer 15 minutes from the end of extra time.
"I made a tackle on Iniesta and I felt my left hamstring
cramp up and after a while I felt I couldn't run it off and then
you have to be substituted."
Van Bronckhorst will now join Feyenoord's technical staff
and has also been offered a role as an assistant coach for the
Dutch under-21 team.
"I'm leaving a team I think can do very well at the next
Euros. We worked hard for two years to get so close and now
(they) start over again for the Euros."
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