Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lama Shuts Down Seedorf, Dutch in Shootout

LIVERPOOL, England -- Laurent Blanc led a stifling defense to secure a goalless draw and capped it off with the winner in the penalty shootout to send the Dutch home and France into the semifinals of the European Championships.

Unable to settle the battle between the 1984 and 1988 European Champions during two hours of bruising play, it came down to penalties and Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf saw his drive through the middle saved by Bernard Lama.

It set Blanc up for the game's perfect finish.

"You need a winner. I don't know whether we deserved it but we gave it all we had," said French coach Aime Jacquet, underlining how little was in it between the two.

Lama said he never had any fear abut the shootout. "I love penalty shootouts. I never lost a big match that way," he said. He only needed to make one save.

And the French had a perfect penalty series as Dutch goalie Edwin van der Sar could not lay a hand on any of the five shots.

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink was left reflecting on wasted opportunities during the game itself.

"Convert one chance and we're into the semis. It was not to be," he said.

"Luck is an important factor," said Dutch captain Danny Blind. Close by, Seedorf was weeping. The Dutch were also eliminated in a penalty shootout at the last European Championships four years ago, when they lost the semifinal to Denmark.

Long keeping a balance between two skillful teams, both goalkeepers made their mark on the game.

Van der Sar made a sterling save in the 105th minute when a pass from Zinedine Zidane brought Youri Djorkaeff eye to eye with the goalie, but Van der Sar smothered the shot from close range to force the penalty shootout. Late in regulation time, a desperate offensive brought the Dutch close to a goal several times.

In the 84th minute, a Philip Cocu freekick from the edge of the penalty box hit Blanc and deflected onto the French post, with Lama well beaten.

Moments earlier Dutch claims for a penalty fell on the deaf ears of Spanish referee Lopez Nieto after Marcel Desailly handled the ball, seemingly on the line of the penalty box.

"The referee was against us the whole game. He was not good for us," complained Dutch midfielder Ronald de Boer.