All good things come to an end, but the Netherlands' untimely UEFA EURO 2012 exit on Sunday provided a stark reminder of how quickly it can happen.
The Oranje squad and fans will be distraught having been touted among the favourites before the competition, but players and supporters aren't the only ones to be affected by the drama of tournament football. It also has an impact on those of us following the sides, the journalists.
With our respective teams based in Krakow, the English, Dutch and Italian crews were all booked into the same hotel and, needless to say, the atmosphere has been fantastic. We work together, eat together and watch the games together. Now the Dutch are gone, suddenly our 12-strong gang is four members short.
I've just waved off Berend Scholten, the Netherlands team camp reporter, who is flying home this evening much to his own and everyone else's surprise. Nobody would have expected him to be the first of us to leave, but I suppose that's the beauty of the UEFA European Championship: Anyone can beat anyone.
Bidding Berend farewell also startled me into the realisation that I, too, could be on my merry way in just two days' time. A chilling prospect, when I think about it. Although we've been here almost three weeks, it feels as though the tournament has only really just begun.
I'm enjoying the four-day cycle of matches, press conferences, interviews and training, but if England fail to take a point against Ukraine on Tuesday, they will be out of the tournament; so will I. After watching Berend trudge despondently down the driveway this afternoon, suitcase in tow, I pray that I'm not the next Krakow casualty ...
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.