JOHANNESBURG: There was bitter disppointment for Dutch captain Gionvanni van Bronckhorst on Sunday as he ended his 14-year Oranje career after the 1-0 defeat to Spain in the World Cup final.
The injury-time goal by Spain`s Andres Iniesta in the 116th-minute was enough to give Vicente del Bosque`s side their first World Cup title in their first final.
But it was heartbreak for van Bronckhorst`s Holland as the Netherlands have now added defeat at the South Africa 2010 final to losing both the `74 and `78 World Cup finals.
The 35-year-old earned his 106th cap on Sunday at the same stadium he won his second cap and the former Arsenal and Barcelona star will now study for his coaching badge before becoming assistant coach to the Dutch Under-21 side.
"We were so close to being world champions, but it didn`t work out that way. It is very disappointing," said van Bronckhorst.
"I am very proud of the team and everything we have achieved. We came far, we gave everything today."
Having netted arguably the goal of the tournament in the 3-2 semi-final win over Uruguay, van Bronckhorst had a quiet final as he conceded a second-half yellow card.
His tackle on Iniesta in the game`s 98th-minute kept his side in the final, before the Spaniard broke Oranje hearts.
The World Cup final is a sad way for van Bronckhorst to bring down the curtain on his 14-year career with the Netherlands.
He won only his second cap for Holland at Soccer City against South Africa in August 1996, back when the Johannesburg ground was known as the FNB Stadium, and became the Dutch captain in 2008 after coach Bert van Marwijk took charge.
He has had a glittering career at club level and won titles with sides in Scotland, England and Spain, but never tasted trophy success in the orange shirt.
Having started at Feyenoord, he moved to Rotterdam to contest four sparkling seasons with the club closest to his heart.
Rangers boss Dick Advocaat brought him to Scotland in the summer of 1998 where he was employed as an attacking midfielder at Ibrox and was twice a league winner during his three years before Arsenal signed him for 13 million euros.
The Gunners wanted him as a replacement for French star Emmanuel Petit, but after playing a key role in their 2001-02 championship win, a knee injury saw him lose his place.
He moved to Barcelona on loan in the summer of 2003 and their Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard successfully switched him to left-back, which led to a permanent deal.
He helped Barcelona clinch the Spanish crown in 2004/05 and their historic Liga and UEFA Champions League double the following year.
Van Bronckhorst then signed on for another spell at Feyenoord in June 2007, putting pen to paper on a three-year contract that has just come to an end.
BDST: 0614hrs, July 12, 2010