Despite England's early exit, the Premier League was the best represented competition in terms of players involved in the quarter-finals and a whole of host of stars from the English top flight were again in action in both Brasilia and Salvador.
So with the quarter-finals now complete, Goal takes a look at how the Premier League heroes performed on World Cup day 22...
|PABLO ZABALETA & MARTIN DEMICHELIS
The Manchester City duo took their places in Argentina's four-man defence and, on the whole, both were solid as Alejandro Sabella's side were able to keep a third clean sheet of the tournament and reach the last four.
On the right, Zabaleta showed his usual attacking threat with a number of marauding runs down the touchline, with one early lung-busting break which drew club team-mate Vincent Kompany's attention, which in turn allowed Gonzalo Higuain the space to fire in the winning goal from the edge of the area.
Defensively he was slightly more suspect, with Jan Vertonghen allowed far too much space on more than one occasion to provide crosses into the box, and he may have to improve that aspect of his game in his side's final two matches.
Demichelis, meanwhile, justified his recall to the starting XI as he kept both Divock Origi and his replacement, Romelu Lukaku, quiet alongside the impressive Ezequiel Garay, with the former Bayern Munich centre-back able to make a number of crucial interceptions.
|EDEN HAZARD & NACER CHADLI
Having come into the competition as Marc Wilmots's side's main hope, Chelsea's Hazard put in yet another uninspiring display to complete a forgettable first World Cup.
Marked out the game by Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano, he had few chances to find space and run at the Argentine defence, with his only forays into the final third ending in losing possession to the physically imposing South American back line.
The former Lille playmaker was eventually substituted for the final 15 minutes in what was a damning move given the fact that Belgium were chasing the game, though his replacement – Tottenham's Nacer Chadli – did little to change the outcome.
Flying challenges, composed interceptions and towering headers are part and parcel of the Manchester City captain's game and they were all evident yet again in Brasilia.
But for all that, this was not the finest 90 minutes of the defender's career, with his error leading to the goal which eventually knocked his country out of the tournament.
Having stepped out of defence, the 28-year-old took one touch too many in the centre circle and, though he was able to get back in position, his surrendering of possession may give him nightmares for time to come.
Though he was able to compose himself thereafter, he was almost further embarrassed by Higuain after the Napoli man left him for dead with a deft nutmeg, only for his effort to strike the crossbar.
Utilised in a more offensive role off the shoulder of Origi, the Manchester United man cut a frustrated figure once again with another showing to which many at Old Trafford have been accustomed during his first season with the 20-time English champions.
Unable to exert any control on the ball, his most telling contributions tended to be fouls on the Argentina creative players – namely Messi – with his physicality causing Mascherano few problems as he shielded the Albiceleste's defensive line.
The former Everton man compounded a poor display with a misdirected header following an excellent ball from the left by Vertonghen.
Caught in no-man's-land for Higuain's early strike, he again looked slightly uncomfortable on the left-hand side of the Belgium defence rather than in his natural central role when Argentina attacked, with Messi's runs in particular leaving him exposed at times.
Going forward was a different story, though, as he regularly troubled opposite number Zabaleta and, on another day, would have finished the match with at least one assist to his name.
The Tottenham man was able to pick out both Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini either side of half-time with some fantastic balls into the box but neither could get their header on target as the Red Devils chased an equaliser.
|KEVIN MIRALLAS & ROMELU LUKAKU
Restored to the starting line-up following a fine showing from the bench against United States, Everton winger Mirallas was unable to have the same impact up against the Argentina defence.
In a somewhat forgettable performance, his only real impact came late in the first half as he was able to steal in front of Demichelis to meet Vertonghen's cross but his near-post header did not trouble Sergio Romero.
Visibly frustrated at being substituted midway through the second period, the former Olympiakos man could only watch on as Lukaku was added to the fray by Wilmots but the Chelsea man could not find the goal that his side needed to take the tie to extra time.
|ROBIN VAN PERSIE & RON VLAAR
The Manchester United striker would have been walking off the pitch at the end of 90 minutes trying to work out how he hadn't scored. In the closing stages he had two clear-cut chances to win it but first completely missed his kick following a fine cross from the imperious Wesley Sneijder and then saw Yeltsin Tejeda somehow turn his shot onto the crossbar.
He fared no better in a crazy period of extra time but kept his cool to net his country's first penalty. Overall it was a strange performance for somebody so clinical but don't bet against him bouncing back against Argentina.
For Vlaar, it was a fairly routine 90 minutes (as routine as you can get in a World Cup quarter-final) but the Aston Villa man had a lively opening to extra time. Having almost opened the scoring with a header shortly after the restart, he nearly conceded a penalty shortly afterwards when he tangled with Marcos Urena.
On the whole he looked solid and it was the unsure Bruno Martins Indi who made way when Van Gaal threw on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in extra time.
The Newcastle shot-stopper may well have been expecting to come off the bench for penalties at some point in the tournament, such is Louis van Gaal's meticulous planning, but surely he did not expect the match to end in this way.
It looked like he might not even get on the pitch in stoppage time of extra time; the ball had already gone out of play past the 120-minute mark and he was still on the sidelines but, a minute later, he was replacing a less-than-pleased Jasper Cillessen. Less than 10 minutes after that, he had saved two Costa Rica penalties and put his country in the World Cup semi-finals.
He got involved in plenty of sledging and guessed the right way every time - quite an evening.