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Belgium defender announces retirement from international football after disappointing Euro 2024 campaign

Belgium defender announces retirement from international football after disappointing Euro 2024 campaign

The experienced defender announced the news on Instagram.

Jan Vertonghen, the most capped player in Belgium history, has announced his retirement from international football.

The 37-year-old defender, who made three appearances for Domenico Tedesco's side at Euro 2024, said he didn't see this summer's tournament as his last ahead of Belgium's opener against Slovakia.

But the former Spurs centre-back has decided to hang up his boots on the international stage, just days after The Red Devils were beaten by France in the last-16.

Taking to Instagram on Friday morning, he wrote: "First one, last one. Thanks for all the memories, I lived my dream."

Vertonghen, who made his senior debut for Belgium in a 2-1 defeat to Portugal in June 2007, made 157 appearances for his country.

In fact, among all the players at Euro 2024, only Cristiano Ronaldo [Portugal - 207] and Luka Modric [Croatia - 175] represented their countries more.

The Belgian FA also reacted to the news on social media, saying: “From the training ground to the pitch, you’ve shown us what it means to be a true Red Devil. We’ll miss you, Jan!”

Vertonghen played the full 90 minutes in their last-16 defeat to France as he scored an own goal to seal their fate.

Gary Neville criticised the Anderlecht centre-back for not closing down Kolo Muani quicker.

“I think he will be disappointed, I mean beyond disappointed, not just the fact that it gets credited to him as an own goal,” Neville said in his post-match analysis for ITV Sport.

“They have their players back Belgium. They have no problems and they have been in plenty situations like this in the match. France are recycling it and moving it around. At this point, you are thinking Belgium are in that shape they have been in all game. There isn’t much happening. Then they quicken it up, it gets played into Griezmann who switches it wide and then you are in a bit of a problem.

“As the ball goes back, Vertonghen has to shift. Kolo Muani doesn’t do anything amazing. He’s a little scruffy on the turn. We have seen a lot better turns than this, but as it gets played back, Vertonghen has to shift up and then it makes it really difficult because he is close enough."

Neville added: "Once you are one or two yards off, that isn’t unlucky, it falls into the category of poor defending and he knows because that’s an experienced player.”

Another player who has been linked with international retirement is Kevin De Bruyne, although the Manchester City defender said it was too early to consider his future.

"It's too early to answer," he told reporters after.the 1-0 defeat to France. "Let me process this loss. It's a been a very long season. I need to rest my body. I will make my decision after the summer."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Euro 2024, Belgium, Tottenham Hotspur