Soccer-Euro-Van der Sar ends Dutch career with painful defeat

BASEL, June 21 Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:07am BST

BASEL, June 21 (Reuters) - Netherlands goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said he was ending his international career with the pain of defeat after they lost 3-1 to Russia in Saturday's Euro 2008 quarter-final.

The 37-year-old, who had announced that his career with the national team would end after Euro 2008, also said he would play only one more season with European champions Manchester United.

"Until this match, it all was nice and we received a lot of international praise, but we could not take that extra step towards the semi-final and final -- and that hurts," Van der Sar told reporters after their extra-time defeat.

Capped 128 times for his country, his career was finally ended by goals from Russia substitute Dmitry Torbinsky and man of the match Andrei Arshavin, who threaded Russia's third between the Dutchman's legs from close range.

The man who launched his international career in 1995 as Netherlands coach at the time, Guus Hiddink, was also the one who brought it to an end on Saturday as manager of a Russia side that were just too good for the Dutch.

"The good feeling just was not present today," Van der Sar said. "In the first half they really put us under pressure.

"In extra time I really had the idea that we could go through if we managed to get into the penalty shootout."

That optimism may well have been founded on his performance in last month's penalty shootout in Moscow, when his heroics won the Champions League final for United against Chelsea.

Looking back at his career, he said: "I really enjoyed it all these years, but it has been enough.

"I only will stay one more year at Manchester United."

Van der Sar, who joined United from Fulham in 2005, agreed a contract extension last December that will take him through to the end of the 2008-09 season, when United will be bidding for a third consecutive Premier League title.

(Editing by Trevor Huggins)

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