Three group leaders gone, comeback kings Turkey through to the semi-finals with a rapidly thinning roster of players, Guus Hiddink working his particular brand of magic with Russia... it has been an enthralling EURO tournament. continues with its alphabetical analysis.

M is for Midas touch, which Dutchman Guus Hiddink certainly possesses. His achievement in taking Korea Republic to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2002, when they had never previously progressed beyond the first round, was impressive enough. However, since then, he has led Australia to their first FIFA World Cup in 32 years, negotiated a difficult EURO qualifying group with a young Russian side, and now taken that same youthful team all the way to the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals, with a thrilling 3-1 win in extra time over his native Netherlands. Mr. Hiddink, be careful with the next meal you eat, you may find it turns to gold before you can swallow.

N is for Never-say-die, which sums up the attitude of the Turkish team at EURO 2008 perfectly. Not content with snatching a late winner against Switzerland and engineering an amazing comeback against the Czech Republic in their final group game, the Turks responded to what looked for all the world like the decisive goal in their quarter-final against Croatia, with an equaliser within a minute.

O is for Outrageous, the best way to describe Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso's attempt, in the game against Greece, to emulate his memorable long-range goal for Liverpool against Luton Town. Antonis Nikopolidis, in his final international, was very nearly caught out by Alonso's 50-yard effort. Just to prove it wasn't a fluke, Alonso produced another effort from distance shortly afterwards, a 30-yard rocket which cannoned off the post. Beware the Liverpool midfielder, wherever on the pitch he may be!

P is for Pride, which Switzerland emphatically restored with their 2-0 win over Portugal in the final group game. The Swiss co-hosts, weakened by the early injury to Alexander Frei and perhaps disturbed by their coach's family distress, played positive football throughout the group stage and were surely unlucky to be out after two games. The sight of Switzerland's players carrying a banner of thanks for Kobi Kuhn at the conclusion of Switzerland's campaign has been one of the most moving images of the EURO tournament.

Q is for Quality, which has been provided in large doses by Russia, but more particularly by their outstanding playmaker/forward Andrei Arshavin, the fashion design graduate with a touch of Johan Cruyff about him. He has been at the heart of Russia's finest moves in their last two games, and provided the deft final touch to perhaps the most outstanding team goal of the tournament, Russia's precise, flowing counter-attack which gave them their second against Sweden.

R is for Respect, which Josef Hickersberger's Austria side certainly gained at EURO 2008. The co-hosts were dismissed as makeweights by almost everyone, but provided stiff resistance to the Croatians in the opening encounter, gained a deserved draw against Poland, and had much the better of the match against their neighbours Germany despite losing 1-0; but for a couple of heavy touches by Erwin Hoffer up front, it might have been Austria progressing to the quarter-finals instead of their fancied "bigger brothers".

S is for Shootouts: there have been two already, and given the closeness of the competition so far, who would bet against one or two more? Again, heroes and villains have been created thereby, and who doesn't feel sorry for Luka Modric, the Croatian midfield whiz-kid, who missed his first penalty for the Croatians against Turkey? The new Tottenham signing had been one of the most dazzling stars of the tournament, but the penalty curse descended on his young shoulders.