The Greeks, shock Euro 2004 winners, caused another surprise, recovering from a draw with the Poles and defeat by the Czechs to beat Russia for their first win since the 2004 final, take an unexpected place in the quarter-finals and ease the euro zone gloom back home.
Neither co-hosts Poland or Ukraine survived the group stage, but still produced memorable moments.
The Ukrainian weather also made an impact with a lightning storm forcing the suspension of Ukraine's match with France in Donetsk for 55 minutes.
Fortunately, most of the drama involved high-quality games in full stadiums and not the expected widespread trouble off the pitch except for fighting before the Poland v Russia match.
Image: Greece's Giorgos Karagounis (10) and teammates celebrate their 1-0 win during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group A match between Greece and Russia in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 16, 2012.