Welcome back to Portugal, where Scotland have a won 1 lost 1 record after two group games of Euro 2004. If you’d like to read about that in more detail, you can do that here. In short, we beat Sweden 3-0 but then lost 2-0 to Holland. Germany have somehow managed to lose both games and sit bottom of the group but thanks to Holland winning both of their games, all four teams can qualify for the last 8.

In order to do that though we have to get a result off Germany. I guess technically we could lose 1-0 and as long as Holland beat Sweden, we’d advance on goal difference, but that’s quite the set of results to rely on. It won’t alter the way I approach the match, the way I see it is if Germany have lost twice, including to Sweden who even we beat, I may as well go for it. Neil Sullivan is back between the sticks and with Lee Wilkie banned I’ve opted for Bob Malcolm at centre-half with Russell Anderson in at right back.

Germany are playing a formation 15 years ahead of its time. 3-4-1-2, 5-3-2, call it what you want. You would say this side is starting to age and we’ll hope to take advantage of that.

It’s quite a tight game. Germany aren’t fluid at all and it’s all very scrappy. Bob Malcolm goes off injured holding a hamstring and that means I have to bring Chris Innes on, who is usually an utter disaster. Halftime comes and goes and there’s a mighty roar around the ground – Holland are doing their bit! With Sweden behind Germany could still qualify and they celebrate by taking the lead through Mehmet Scholl. Uh-oh. Oliver Kahn has looked untroubled throughout but somehow Steven Nicholas finds it in himself to equalise. He’s managed just 3 goals for Spurs all season but this could be huge. A point will suit us down to the ground and I immediately switch to shithouse mode. Time wasting. The substitution of Kerrsy to save him from a yellow card that would equate to a ban. The whistle goes…

Philip McGuire, you are a hero. As predicted Chris Innes was woeful but so was Carsten Jancker so swings and roundabouts. We’re in the last 8!

You’d have to say it’s a deserved point.

Confirmation of the big news from Setubal, where Holland finish with 9 out of 9.

Yippeeee

It will, however, be hosts Portugal in the last 8. Why couldn’t we have had this group?

Group 3 was a bit tasty, with France recovering from losing to Ireland to advance along with my qualification buddies Spain.

World Cup winners Italy advance with consummate ease, whilst England complete the last 8 lineup.

Well, I don’t like our chances.

Then again…

Oh Sol

The World Champions are out too. So France awaits the winners of Portugal against Scotland.

Wilkie is back in and I’ve opted for McPhee over young Lynchy. Neither of them scores, ever, so it’s largely pointless.

Portugal have a formidable midfield and home advantage. But we have Mark Kerr.

No idea what Portugal are up to, but they’re struggling to make an impression. We aren’t much better but we don’t have to be. Just before halftime, something strange happens. Gary Naysmith scores. Nobody really knows what to do but it’s incredible. Nicholas has already departed with everybody’s favourite Australian Scott McDonald on in his place.

We get ready for a second-half onslaught but it never really comes. I don’t even feel the need to deploy Gordon for shutdown mode. It’s just that simple. France, we’re coming for you.

McGuire again. He replaces Toby as my favourite McGuire on an admittedly short list. Seeing off Nuno Gomes at halftime is a real highlight.

Let’s just see that full-time confirmation one more time.

I wish we were playing Switzerland. No disrespect but I don’t fear them like I do France.

With Nicholas joining Malcolm on the treatment table I’ve opted for Scotty Mc and the fresh legs of Stephen Hughes for Craig Easton, who has frankly done nothing. He hasn’t uttered a peep.

France are just very good all over. They play the exact same system as Portugal but with better players. And Stephane Dalmat. I’m not sure how he’s here but there you go.

Urgghhhh it’s a nightmare. We go behind after 5 minutes. No worry, pick yourselves up. Go again. Show that famous Scottish…oh it’s 2-0. 16 minutes played. Zidane makes it 3 on 25. What is going on?

Ah. Neil Sullivan is in idiot mode.

What do you say to a team that’s 3-0 down in a European Championship semi-final? Don’t be like Neil. Be better than Neil.

It didn’t work.

Just to prove that it is Neil Sullivan’s fault…

The last two goals went in late on when we had little left to give. Emotionally or otherwise.

Thankfully, there is no 3rd place playoff.

Spain will face France in the final.

Come on Spain. We went through this road together.

Well, that’s brutal.

Barthez took tips from Neil Sullivan pre-game. Sebastien Frey is pretty bloody good like, can’t help but feel he should be starting.

Naturally, the FA are chuffed.

Do we carry on with World Cup 2006 qualifying? It’s Spain again.

Euro 2008 is in Scotland and Wales so this will probably be my last qualifying bid. Why not eh?