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Dutch Defender De Boer Injured

From Associated Press

Netherlands captain Frank de Boer will sit out his team’s European Championship semifinal match against Portugal because of an ankle injury, the team said Monday.

De Boer left the Netherlands’ quarterfinal match against Sweden in the 35th minute after tackling Fredrik Ljungberg. The Dutch went on to win, 5-4, on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw in regulation and overtime.

“A blow on the right ankle during the win against Sweden has ruled out an appearance in the semifinal, and his availability for the final is dubious,” the team said in a statement.

De Boer has a record 112 appearances for the Netherlands, but the injury probably will end the 34-year-old defender’s international career. He has said he plans to retire from the national team after Euro 2004.

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The Netherlands plays host Portugal on Wednesday. Greece plays the Czech Republic on Thursday in the other semifinal.

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England midfielder Steven Gerrard said that he’s staying with Liverpool, ending speculation about a move to English Premier League rival Chelsea.

Reports last week suggested Gerrard would join the Blues in a deal worth $54 million, with Chelsea Coach Jose Mourinho saying he would welcome the 24-year-old with “open arms.”

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A strong two-way midfielder, Gerrard was widely regarded as Liverpool’s best player last season. He signed a four-year contract extension in November.

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Ebbe Sand, one of Denmark’s veteran top scorers, won’t play with the national team anymore so that he can focus on his German club, the Danish soccer federation said.

The 31-year-old striker, who plays for Schalke, said he couldn’t devote his energy to playing for both teams at the same time.

Considered one of Europe’s best forwards, Sand joined the Danish side in March 1998. In 66 matches, he has 22 goals to rank eighth on Denmark’s scoring list behind teammate Jon Dahl Tomasson.


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