The Germans picked the right time to play their best game of Euro 2008. First-half goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose staked Germany to a 2-0 lead and Michael Ballack grabbed the game winner for the second-straight game as Germany defeated Portugal 3-2. Germany advances to next Wednesday's semifinal against either Croatia or Turkey.
Portugal doubled up Germany in shots (21-10) and shots on goal (10-5), but the quality of German finishing was the decisive factor. The best example came 20 minutes into the game when a well-delivered cross by Jose Bosingwa was clumsily handled by Joao Moutinho in the box. Moments later, Lukas Podolski was charing in the opposite direction, delivering a low cross to Schweinsteiger who buried the game's first goal. With Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Klose and Ballack all contributing to scoring plays, Germany have re-established themselves as a tournament favorite.
Portugal's Euro 2008 campaign will be remembered for the distractions that surrounded the team all month. It's rarely beneficial to have your head coach accept a high profile club job in the middle of the tournament, while rumors swirl about the future plans of your star player. Portugal will of course deny that the situations involving Scolari and Ronaldo contributed to their early exit, yet it will remain the legacy of this Portuguese side.
For Germany they'll enjoy a much needed five-day break before returning to Basel to face either Croatia, who defeated then 2-1 in the group stages, or Turkey.