Belgium possess a side flooded with Premier League talent but would they have enough to get past a stubborn Russia defence? And what of Algeria and South Korea - could Arsenal outcast Park Chu-Young make a difference?
Goal rounds up how all the representatives from England's top flight got on on day 11 of the World Cup...
Thibaut Courtois is, as exclusively revealed by Goal, expected to return to Stamford Bridge this summer after three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid with the club willing to listen to offers for Petr Cech.
The goalkeeper made a smart save from Viktor Faizulin early on in this Group H clash with Russia before Oleg Shatov tried his luck from 25 yards but he didn't beat the Blues keeper.
Courtois was cursing his defenders when Alexander Kokorin was allowed a free header at goal as the game entered first-half stoppage time but the striker missed from just eight yards.
In a game lacking action in front of goal, Courtois enjoyed a quiet game as Belgium snatched a late winner to confirm qualification to the knockout stages with one game to play.
|KOMPANY, VERTONGHEN & FELLAINI
Marouane Fellaini continued in his more advanced role under national team coach Marc Wilmots after a game-changing cameo against Algeria, and initially linked up with the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne well.
|WORLD CUP SOCIAL HUB
|Keep up with all the latest news from Brazil and get involved in the debate on Twitter with our new World Cup Social Hub|
Thomas Vermaelen, meanwhile, started in defence but had to be withdrawn with just half an hour played after failing to fully recover from a knock suffered during the warm-up. He was replaced by Jan Vertonghen.
Belgium enjoyed the majority of possession but failed to make their dominance count and nearly went behind on the stroke of half-time when both Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany failed to track the run of Kokorin, who was gifted a free header.
The second half was equally uneventful from both although Kompany in particular showed his class on a couple of occasions as he nipped in and won the ball to help Belgium start another attack.
Romelu Lukaku's future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain with, as exclusively revealed by Goal, Diego Costa joining in the summer and the Belgium forward will be frustrated he didn't take his chance to impress against Russia.
It's proving a difficult World Cup for the 21-year-old who was poor in his side's opening fixture, a narrow 2-1 win over Algeria, and he was again out of sorts as he struggled to get the better of Russia centre-backs Vasili Berezutskiy and Sergey Ignashevich on Sunday.
And, with a visibly frustated Lukaku taken off after 57 minutes, his replacement Divock Origi was the hero as he pounced on Eden Hazard's cut-back to seal the points for Belgium and leave Lukaku's place in doubt for the rest of the tournament.
Eden Hazard, who is yet to really announce himself as one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup, was kept quiet by Russia for the majority of the 90 minutes of their Group H clash with coach Wilmots altering his position on a few occasions to try and get him in the game.
The Chelsea sensation started on the left but, after an exceptionally quiet first half for his standards, where Dries Mertens saw far more of the ball on the opposite flank, was moved to the right-hand-side of the attack in the second half.
But his moment arrived when he was switched back over to the left as Hazard finally managed to sneak in behind the Russian defence and get to the byline before pulling back for Origi to slam home the winning goal late on.
The Tottenham starlet was deployed at the heart of the Algeria midfield with the task of keeping their forward momentum going in what was a tactical switch from the defeat to Belgium in their previous fixture.
Showing good feet he skipped away from a number of challenges in the early stages, and found his passes with regularity as the African side dominated and took a 3-0 lead into the half-time break.
South Korea’s dominance in the second period meant the youngster saw much less of the ball, and instead found himself breaking up play with a series of strong tackles.
Though a booking away from a suspension, he showed no fear in trying to win the ball back, and though he was penalised at times, he did a fine job in helping his side see out a memorable victory that gives them a great chance of progression to the knockout stages.
|SUNG-YONG KI & PARK CHU-YOUNG
While Ki Sung-Yueng’s distribution was tidy enough in the centre of the pitch - boasting a pass accuracy of 98 per cent - the midfielder, along with the rest of his South Korea team-mates, was culpable for an inept first-half display in which no chances were created.
Immediately after the break, Ki was one of the driving forces for a revitalised South Korea as his raking pass found Son Heung-Min inside Algeria’s area, and the forward shifted his body well to find enough space to shoot and fire low past Rais M'Bolhi.
Ten minutes later, Ki had a fierce, long-range drive which was destined for the top corner superbly saved by M'Bolhi.
It was a miserable first half for Park Chu-Young, meanwhile, as Algeria starved South Korea of any chances.
The 28-year-old had just 22 touches in the opening 45 minutes but had no attempts on goal as his team-mates looked devoid of creativity.
Park, who made just two appearances last season during a loan spell at Watford, had a half-chance inside Algeria’s box after the break but the striker hesitated and was able to work the ball into a shooting position.
He was eventually replaced by Kim Shin-Wook after 56 minutes and will be disappointed he didn't make more of an impact.
Certainly not his worst performance, but as Manchester United fans have become accustomed to, this was yet another horribly inconsistent showing from the much-maligned winger.
In front of goal he looked more likely than anyone for Portugal, as he first showed great composure to put Tim Howard on the seat of his pants to open the scoring before twice being denied by the Everton goalkeeper as the first half drew to a close.
Shooting apart, though, he proved to be a frustration for supporters and team-mates alike as he mislaid countless passes in the final third as well as showing a horrendous first touch when in encouraging areas.
Though not in the side for his defending, he should have done much more to stop Jermaine Jones’ equaliser as he allowed the midfielder to cut inside and shoot after a poor clearing header, but it was his play at the other end that set the tone for another under-par display.
|TIM HOWARD & GEOFF CAMERON
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was a reliable presence as always for USA against Portugal and, after touching a first-half effort from Nani onto the post, what followed was quite unbelievable.
As the ball pinged back to Eder, the Portugal forward struck at goal only for Howard to claw the ball up and over the bar to pull off what will undoubtedly go down as one of the saves of the tournament.
As for Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron, operating in a central defensive role, he recovered well to keep Eder at bay for large parts of the second half having diverted a sliced clearence straight to Nani for Portugal's opener in the first period.