Colombia's emerging superstar is joined by Brazil heroes Julio Cesar and David Luiz in our select XI of the first knockout stage of this summer's tournament
After a group stage which yielded enough goals to satisfy everyone, the World Cup round of 16 ramped up the tension.
Brazil stared down the barrel of an unthinkable early exit against Chile before eventually triumphing in a monumentally nervy penalty shootout, Netherlands needed a late comeback to see off Mexico and Germany and Argentina were pushed all the way by Algeria and Switzerland respectively. All in all, five of the eight ties went to extra-time, beating the record set by Italia 90.
With every match so competitive, picking the team of the round proved far from easy, but the 11 players selected managed to distinguish themselves above all others and were too good to ignore.
In goal, Julio Cesar fends off stiff competition from Keylor Navas, David Ospina, Guillermo Ochoa, Manuel Neuer and Rais M'Bolhi for the most hotly-contested position in the team. In a round where strikers invariably met their match, Cesar staked the strongest claim by making several crucial saves in normal time against Chile and then keeping his head to produce a heroic display in a shootout which saw almost everyone else lose theirs.
Our back three begins with Gary Medel who, despite being a diminutive midfielder by trade, further bolstered his reputation as a warrior by largely keeping Brazil at bay until he was forced from the field through injury on 108 minutes. The Cardiff City man is joined by David Luiz, who scored in normal time and in the shootout for the hosts, and Michael Umana, who almost entirely frustrated Greece for over two hours before scoring the penalty which fired Costa Rica into the last eight of a World Cup for the first time in the country's history.
On the right of our five-man midfield is Juan Cuadrado of Colombia, who tormented the Uruguay defence with his pace and skill at the Maracana and notched two assists. In the centre is Paul Pogba, who capped a highly polished display with the decisive goal in France's 2-0 win over Nigeria, and Bryan Ruiz, who opened the scoring for Costa Rica against Greece with his second goal of the tournament.
On the left is Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli, who worried the Germany defence time and again as the Fennec Foxes gave Joachim Low's men several huge scares and took them into extra-time before eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
In the No.10 position there was only ever one candidate. James Rodriguez cemented his status as the player of the World Cup so far with a star-making performance at the Maracana, scoring two goals against Uruguay - with his first, a sensational 25-yard volley, staking an extremely strong claim for goal of the tournament.
Up front is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who proved the catalyst for Netherlands' dramatic late comeback against Mexico, setting up Wesley Sneijder's equaliser with a deft header and scoring a nerveless penalty at the death.
The Schalke man is partnered by Alexis Sanchez, who scored Chile's only goal against Brazil and at times carried the fight to Luiz Felipe Scolari's men single-handed.