Germany 2 Denmark 1 / Portugal 2 Holland 1
"It's Fathers Day and everybody's wounded", at least so Leonard Cohen tells us, but for most of us it was a good evening in front of the TV with a bottle of red and some excellent football, with not much wounding unless you happen to be Dutch or Danish.
In the final group games, most were looking at the Metalist Stadium, Ukraine where Holland went into their match needing a clear two goal win against Portugal to progress, but the Dutch were always keeping an eye and ear out for the score from Arena Lviv where they needed rivals Germany to beat Denmark. This particular scenario was made more interesting though, when you considered that both Portugal and Denmark could also qualify for the quarter finals if they could get results and hope things went their way elsewhere. In short, it was anybody's day although, in retrospect, it was always going to be difficult for the Dutch and Danes.
It looked good for Holland though when, after some early pressure, Van der Vaart put them ahead after only 11 minutes and things seemed to go further their way when news filtered through that Podolski had scored on 19 minutes to put the Germans ahead against Denmark. But things changed rapidly, as the Portugese started to turn on the pressure and the style as Ronaldo struck a post and Postiga scuffed an excellent opportunity. It was starting to look only a matter of time and things changed dramatically within three minutes as Dane Michael Krohn-Dehli scored with a neat header to level against Germany and, on 28 minutes, Ronaldo run onto a Nani through ball and calmly slot home to equalise for Portugal. There's no doubting Ronaldo is a class act but as he celebrated in his usual annoying way it was very difficult not to want to punch the TV screen.
Ronaldo's goal knocked the fragile Dutch confidence and they were never really an active threat after as Portugal, with their captain pulling the strings, started to dominate proceedings. It was obvious within ten minutes of the restart that Holland had lost their way in the tournament as Portugal counter-attacked at will, pulling the dutch flanks and allowing Ronaldo free reign to at last look at international level how he often looks at club. Eight shots on target by half-time - more than the entire Dutch team - told you all you needed to know.
Just a minute after Nani missed a sitter and following a long period of Portugese dominance, it was Ronaldo again on 74 minutes as Nani's wide run and pass saw the Real Madrid player step inside his man and coolly drill home to put his side in the lead 2-1. Holland had chances but right throughout the qualifiers they had failed to take them, and as the news came through that the wonderfully names Lars Bender had put the Germans back in front after 80 minutes, any doubt how the final table would look were dashed.
There was still time for Holland to waste some chances and Ronaldo to be denied a fully deserved hat-trick by the post but if Portugal had won by four of five Holland couldn't really have complained, and if they'd all been scored by Ronaldo then ditto. Later match highlights showed that Denmark had some good chances against Germany and Bendtner was denied a clear penalty and, had Denmark gone ahead, then there was even a chance that Germany could have been eliminated on the head-to-head score.
Of course that never happened - it's only Father Day and hell didn't freeze over - but it did show how close this group was and how the head-to-head ruling has changed the way matches operate for the better (although don't you know, one day, the first nation to be eliminated in this way is bound to be England!).
Interesting point to note now is how the tournament has opened up with Greece playing Germany and Portugal facing the Czechs in the quarter-finals. On the form showed today you'd have to fancy both to progress further.