German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger put on quite the display, scoring a goal and assisting on two others, giving Germany a 3-2 win over Portugal in the quarterfinals of Euro 2008.
Schweinsteiger found the net first in the 22nd minute, putting the Germans ahead 1-0. Just four minutes later, Schweinsteiger found forward Miroslav Klose for the header to put the Germans on top 2-0 just 26 minutes in.
The German number seven looked more like his Portuguese jersey counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo. After being suspended for Germany's last group stage game, it was essential for Schweinsteiger to come out and produce.
I said in my preview article that Schweinsteiger might just be the "unsung hero," and he sure played that role to perfection. After midfielder Lukas Podolski had been the only effective German offense player, it was about time that his best friend Schweinsteiger picked up his game.
After Portuguese international Nuno Gomes cut the German lead in half, captain Michael Ballack headed a ball past Portuguese keeper Ricardo for two-goal insurance.
One of the best headers in the world, Ballack has the uncanny ability of finding the nylon off headballs. A perfect service from Schweini allowed "Der Kapitaen" to come onto it and play it past the outstretched hands of Ricardo.
Many thought that at this point, in the 61st minute, that had been the dagger into the chest of the Portuguese. However, Helder Postiga made it interesting with a strike in the 86th minute, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Portuguese could never materialize another comeback, and the Germans went on to dribble the ball out until the whistle blew. It is the first time that Germany has advanced to the final four in twelve years, when they won the whole competition in 1996.
With fantastic offensive play, look for the Germans to give the winner of Croatia and Turkey a definite run for the final game.