Germany booked their place in the last four after producing a clinical performance to edge out slot online in a thrilling quarter-final in Basel.
The pre-tournament favourites had been tipped to struggle against a Portugal side who had illuminated the group stages with some superb attacking play, but Joachim Low’s side rose to the occasion and fully deserved their place in the semi-finals.
For Portugal and out-going coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, it was a disappointing night as their skilful front players failed to rediscover the heights that had seen them book their place in the knockout stages as Group A winners.
Germany, who made hard work of qualifying as runners-up to Croatia in Group B, were not helped by the loss of key midfielder Torsten Frings to a rib injury and coach Joachim Low’s one-match touchline ban.
However, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Simon Rolfes all came into the starting line-up and excelled, with the disappointing Mario Gomez and Clemens Fritz dropped to the bench.
Portugal had threatened first as they carved out the first real opportunity in the 21st minute when Joao Moutinho nipped ahead of Christoph Metzelder but diverted Jose Bosingwa’s low cross over the bar with his knee.
But Germany, who had bossed possession in the opening stages, hit the opposition with a two-goal blast within four minutes with moments of real attacking quality.
The first came on 22 minutes from the sliding boot of Schweinsteiger as he sprinted past a napping Paulo Ferreira and made sure he was in position to stab home Lukas Podolski’s low cross after excellent play down the left flank involving the striker and captain Michael Ballack.
Portugal didn’t even have the opportunity to look shocked as Schweinsteiger turned from scorer to provider four minutes later.
The Bayern Munich wideman was making his first start of the tournament and his clipped free-kick was headed home by the unmarked Miroslav Klose from eight yards as the Portuguese defence was again caught flat-footed.
Scolari looked an agitated figure in the Portugal technical area but his half-time team talk perhaps had the edge taken of it when his side halved the deficit on 40 minutes.
Nuno Gomes was on hand to fire the ball home from ten yards after Jens Lehmann saved Cristiano Ronaldo’s initial effort following a superb flowing move from one end of the pitch to the other.
Ronaldo then went close to the stroke of half-time, but his side-footed effort looking for the far corner drifted marginally wide of the back post with Lehmann helpless.
After the interval, Portugal saw more of the ball as Germany chose to defend in numbers and they had a let off in the 58th minute when Pepe could only head a flicked-on corner over the bar from close range.
But Germany looked dangerous on the break and they stretched their advantage soon after following yet more poor defending.
Ballack this time profited from a lack of organisation in the opposition box as he got free of his marker Ferreira and headed home a Schweinsteiger free-kick from six yards out.
Scolari made attacking changes and went for broke, but all too often the Portuguese players were limited to long-range efforts which failed to trouble Lehmann.
They refused to throw in the towel and Helder Postiga set up a nail-biting finish when he headed home from close range on 87 minutes after a pinpoint cross from another substitute Nani.
However, an impressive Germany held firm at the back and saw out time to set up a last four encounter against either Croatia or Turkey in indian satta Basel next Wednesday.