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Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Rijkaard quits after semi-final loss

Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard announced his resignation within minutes of his team losing on penalties to Italy in their Euro 2000 semi-final.

"I set myself one goal when I started as national coach and that was winning the European Championship," he said.

"I failed and I think now it's time for a new coach. I just want thank all the players for their support."

Arsenal striker Dennis Bergkamp also announced his retirement from international football after the semi-final defeat against Italy.

Bergkamp claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family and said he was "tired of all the games".

The fact that he has now lost four penalty shoot outs with the Dutch was also a majore factor.

"I don't know why Holland can't win in a penalty shoot-out," he said.

"It is not the first time and will not be the last. It is so stupid, but we only have ourselves to blame."

Rijkaard had been coach of the Dutch team for the two seasons leading up to Euro 2000.

His decision to quit leaves the Dutch FA looking for a new national coach ahead of the qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup, which begins in September.

Blame

Dutch captain Frank de Boer says Holland only have themselves to blame after losing to Italy on penalties in their Euro 2000 semi-final.

De Boer had two penalties saved - one in the first half, and another in the dramatic shoot-out which clinched Italy's place in the final on Sunday.


Frank De Boer
Despair: De Boer
His failure from the spot in normal time was followed by a second miss by Patrick Kluivert, allowing 10-man Italy to take the match into a goal-less period of extra time.

"Because we missed two penalties in normal time, the Italians started the penalty shootout with a psychological advantage," said De Boer.

"It's very sad it's over. I think the chance of becoming European champions put unbelievable pressure on us. In the end we can only blame ourselves."

"I think we deserved to get to the final but even though we trained penalties at every session, it was not our destiny to go through on a penalty shootout."

Great battle

Italian coach Dino Zoff said: "It was a great battle against a great team. We responded well to adversity and played better with 10 men than with 11. We fought harder."

When asked to smile by Italian journalists, Zoff retorted: "Let's wait until the final."

Italian goalkeeping hero Francesco Toldo, who saved three penalties, said: "They could have played for an entire day taking shots at our goal and they would never have scored.

"The script for this match was written before kick-off."

We practised penalties every day and this match shows that taking a penalty is always something special and that it's not our forte.

Frank Rikkaard

Rijkaard added: "I think this game is a disaster for the whole tournament. It was a missed chance for us.

"Despite the fact that we really dominated the first half, we were not able to finish it off.

"Something happens with the team when you play well and don't score and you get a lack of self-confidence setting in.

"We practised penalties every day and this match shows that taking a penalty is always something special and that it's not our forte.

"I think the Italians played really cleverly. Their organisation was really good and they did a terrific defensive job."

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Holland
Van Gaal favourite for Dutch job
29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Italy through on penalties
29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Holland v Italy clockwatch
29 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Holland v Italy in pictures
29 Jun 00 | Holland
Dutch party turns sour
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