Vlaar heartbroken at Dutch defeat

The Aston Villa defender was left distraught after his saved penalty set the tone for Netherlands' shootout defeat to Argentina in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final
Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar is heartbroken after his side were eliminated from the World Cup on Wednesday.

Louis van Gaal's side began the tournament with a stunning 5-1 thrashing of reigning world champions Spain but fell at the semi-final stage, going down 4-2 on penalties to Argentina after playing out a goalless draw in Sao Paulo.

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And Vlaar, who took the first penalty in the shootout only to see it saved by Sergio Romero, says that his acclaimed personal performance over the preceding 120 minutes will offer him consolation.

"I know I had a good game but, in the end, you stand here with your hands empty," he told NOS.

"It hurts so much. Our dream has burst. I've done so much to get here."

Wesley Sneijder, who also saw his spot kick turned away by Romero, echoed Vlaar's grief.

"I don't really know what to say right now," the veteran midfielder lamented. "This hurts, especially when you're one of the people to miss."

Netherlands must now pick themselves up for the third-place play-off against hosts Brazil in Brasilia on Saturday.