With an average of 2.45 goals per game, Euro 2012 was the most low-scoring European Championship for 16 years, but what it lacked in rippling nets, it made up for in excitement and technical quality.
After a build-up dogged by concerns about infrastructural problems and the potential for fan violence, the competition caught the attention from the opening game.
Robert Lewandowski claimed the tournament's first goal for co-hosts Poland at Warsaw's National Stadium, but their Greece secured a 1-1 draw in a breathless game that saw both sides finish with 10 men.
Poland were to entertain again, sharing a thrillingly open 1-1 draw with Russia in their second Group A game before to the Czech Republic and exiting the competition.
Fellow hosts Ukraine also bade their farewells in the group phase, but they could at least treasure the sight of 35-year-old national icon Andrei Shevchenko claiming a match-winning brace in the opening 2-1 defeat of Sweden.
By the mid-point of the group stage, journalists were already beginning to draw comparisons with the 2000 tournament in Belgium and Holland, widely seen as a high watermark in the recent history of European football.
Portugal let slip a two-goal lead over Denmark in Group B, only to prevail 3-2 through an 87th-minute strike from Silvestre Varela that provided the spark that would take them to the last four.
England also came from behind to beat Sweden 3-2 in Kiev, with substitute Theo Walcott lashing home an equaliser and then motoring down the right flank to tee up Danny Welbeck for a cunning improvised winner.