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The Aston Villa stopper was left distraught after his saved spot kick contributed to Netherlands penalty-shootout defeat to Argentina in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal

Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar has expressed his heartbreak after his side was eliminated from the World Cup on Wednesday.

Louis Van Gaal’s team began the tournament with a stunning 5-1 thrashing of reigning world champion Spain but fell at the semifinal stage on Wednesday night, going down 4-2 on penalties to Argentina after playing out a goalless draw in Sao Paulo.

And Vlaar, who took the first penalty in the shootout only to see it saved by Sergio Romero, says his 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, expressed echoed Vlaar's grief.

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

The Netherlands must now pick itself up for the third-place playoff against host Brazil in Brasilia on Saturday.