Ruud van Nistelrooy was charged by Uefa yesterday for insulting the Swedish referee Anders Frisk after the Netherlands' defeat in Wednesday's Euro 2004 semi-final to Portugal.
The Manchester United striker was furious with Frisk's performance and had to be led away as he confronted the official after the final whistle.
Frisk mentioned the confrontation in his match report and Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Van Nistelrooy. The European governing body is expected to announce his punishment today.
The striker, who has confirmed he will stay at Manchester United next season, was scathing about Frisk's performance. "It was unbelievable how the referee ruled everything in favour of Portugal," he said. "He was a real home whistler. Every 50-50 situation went for them."
Dutch newspapers mourned the end of an era players called time on their international careers. "Dream in shreds," read the headline in De Telegraaf. "What a shame for Orange!" The media agreed that the Dutch would have to make a new start after the defeat, the swansong of leading players such as Frank de Boer, Phillip Cocu, Jaap Stam and Marc Overmars. The Algemeen Dagblad plastered its front page with a picture of Stam and the headline "Painful farewell".
"Generation discharged without main prize," the newspaper wrote. "The sunken eyes of Stam spoke a clear language: he completely drained himself. Everybody was exhausted."
The oldest member of Dick Advocaat's squad said he has no plans to retire. The striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, who turns 35 in November, said: "I will see how it works out. The decision will be made by the coach, who will pick his best squad, and if there are better players for my position he will make his choice."
With his reputation for caution, the tactics of Advocaat came in for bitter criticism during the tournament, but De Volkskrant said candidates to replace him were thin on the ground and the Dutch might have to look to a foreign candidate such as Denmark's Morten Olsen, the former Ajax coach. Among the possible home candidates are Ronald Koeman, the current Ajax coach, and the NEC Nijmegen coach, Johan Neeskens.
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