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Frank de Boer has confirmed his retirement from international football, after an illustrious career which has seen him make 112 appearances for Holland.

However, four times during h a career which spanned 14 years, de Boer suffered the frustration of losing at the semi-final stage, the most recent occasion of course, coming last night in Porto as Holland went down 2-1 to the Euro 2004 hosts.

Three of those defeats, at Euro 92, the World Cup in France in 1998 and at Euro 2000, Holland were denied in penalty shootouts. .

“It was a painful way for things to end,” de Boer said.

“Of course what I had in my mind was to lift the Cup. But life and football don’t always go how you want them to.

“I am not an emotional guy. But I think when I sit around the table with the players for the last time and then say goodbye to everyone, then I’m going to realise that it is over.”

Of the four semi-finals defeats, de Boer admitted that the loss to Portugal was the one which will cause him the least anguish.

“This one, I think we didn’t deserve to be in the final,” he admitted. “In 92 I think we deserved it, in the World Cup in 1998 I think we deserved it and in 2000 also.

“It is hard. We have so much quality and to stand now at the end of my career empty handed — I would rather have finished with only 20 caps and won one trophy.”

De Boer will now finish his career alongside his twin brother Ronald in Qatar,.

But de Boer believes the future of the Dutch national team is in good hands, despite this tournament marking the retirement of several experienced internationals including van der Saar, Jaap Stam and Marc Overmars. .

“There is a lot of talent left,” he said. “(Rafael) van der Vaart is coming, (Wesley) Sneijder is coming. Ruud van Nistelrooy is there, Clarence Seedorf is still young and Edgar Davids can still go. So there is a lot there and I’m not worried about it.”

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