As the tournament draws to a close, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on what we've experienced and seen over the past three weeks or so in what has been a thoroughly entertaining tournament.
In terms of the organisation of the tournament, Poland and Ukraine had a huge task on their hands but I think they coped pretty well. Neither has had much experience of putting on a show like this but they did as well as they could. All the talk of widespread hooliganism and racism never materialised and while there were odd instances of violence amongst some rival fans they were just isolated incidents rather symptomatic of a widespread problem. As for the football itself, it's been excellent. Few could argue with the fact that the four best teams in the competition are the last four standing. There has been little or no controversy (the Ukranian goal that never was probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway) regarding refereeing decisions so that's a good thing too.
My biggest disappointment comes as an England fan, not a football fan. It was glaringly obvious that the key to stopping Italy was to stop Andrea Pirlo. But England either missed a trick there or never managed to execute the plan. If it were me, I would have had Steven Gerrard man-mark him for the whole match. Not only could he have kept Pirlo quiet but it would inevitably have meant Gerrard being higher up the pitch himself, which is where I like to see him.
The Player Of the Tournament
Alan Dzagoev caught the eye early on but he, just like Russia, faded during their last group game and that was the last we saw of them. I'm not sure how many years Andryi Shevchenko has left in him as a professional footballer (he's already retired from internationals) but for one night only he reminded the footballing world what he was all about with two goals that got the whole of the Ukraine celebrating and believing. Unfortunately that's as good as it got for both Andryi and the Ukraine but whereas he doesn't get my vote for best player, he gets the sentimental vote.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso have all been excellent but if we're honest they've been excellent in a collective rather than individual way. Harsh on Alonso perhaps, who scored Spain's two goals on Saturday, but he doesn't quite make the cut.
So it's Cristiano Ronaldo who gets my vote. He's the one player who has taken the tournament by the scruff of the neck and shone with moments of individual brilliance. There are three huge games to go and therefore opportunities for someone else to make their mark on Euro 2012 but for the time being it's the Madrid man in pole position.
Spain are hovering around the 2.0 mark to win tonight and if you decide to back them you have plenty of stats in your favour. They are the current World Champions, the defending European champions, they beat Portugal 1-0 at the last World Cup and they have conceded just one goal in four matches this tournament, less than anyone else. Yet somehow there are enough doubts in my mind about Spain to make me want to back Portugal.
I think Spain's defence is yet to be tested by a potent attack and certainly haven't had to face anyone with the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo. Their passing game might throw up all sorts of absurd statistics that make our friends at Opta drool but for me they don't create as many clear-cut chances as they should.
So far this tournament has pretty much gone to form and I just think something has to give. Football betting is based on choosing the value selections and Portugal just look too big at 4.77/2. 2-1 would be my idea of a correct score at a huge 19.5.
The second semi is more clear cut. I picked Germany to go all the way before the start and though that 4.57/2 is long gone, I wouldn't put anyone off going in at 2.747/4 at this stage. Italy created a lot of chances against England and I think they'll take at least one of them on Thursday night. That's unlikely to be enough though against a German team that won comfortably in the quarters, allowed themselves the luxury of resting three key players and had two more days' rest, in addition to having the match sewn up in 90 minutes, whereas Italy needed 120 and penalties. It's Germany for me, also with a 2-1 scoreline.
Back Germany to win Euro 2012 @ 2.747/4
Back Portugal to beat Spain @ 4.77/2
Back Portugal to win 2-1 @ 19.5
Back Germany to beat Italy @ 1.9720/21
Back Germany to beat Italy 2-1 @ 10.09/1