And there were plenty of Premier League stars on show in both games, with the likes of Hugo Lloris and Mesut Ozil featuring in Rio de Janeiro while Brazil unleashed the likes of Oscar and Fernandinho against Jose Pekerman's Colombia.
So as the first round of quarter-finals reached their conclusion, Goal examines how all the representatives from England's top-flight performed on World Cup day 21...
|HUGO LLORIS & MAMADOU SAKHO
France are going home but in no way can any of the blame be attached to Lloris. The Tottenham goalkeeper was again a solid and reliable presence against Germany and could do little about Mats Hummels's winning goal, which was superbly placed over his head and into the net.
With Didier Deschamps's side gambling numbers forward as the minutes disappeared, Lloris was twice called upon to keep out Andre Schurrle. The second a particularly impressive save as he deflected the ball away with his feet as the Chelsea forward took aim from close range after good work on the counter by Mesut Ozil.
It was a bit of a mixed bag of a performance for Mamadou Sakho, meanwhile, with the Liverpool centre-back coming to his side's rescue at times to make crucial last-ditch interventions but, as has been witnessed during his short Anfield career to date, he has moments where he switches off and one slack pass in particular nearly gifted Thomas Muller a goal.
He was eventually replaced by Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny but, with France piling forward in search of an equaliser, the 28-year-old was often left exposed alongside central defensive partner Raphael Varane.
|MATHIEU DEBUCHY & PATRICE EVRA
Debuchy, reportedly a target for Arsenal this summer, did himself no disgrace as he continued to start for France ahead of departing Gunner Bacary Sagna. The Newcastle man was diligent as he looked to keep an eye on potential new team-mate Mesut Ozil, as well as push forward. He had a little more success with the former than the latter but still put in an acceptable performance.
More vulnerable was his opposite, left-back Evra. Particularly in the second half, most of Germany's counterattacking opportunities came down their right flank as the likes of Thomas Muller and Andre Schurrle found space in which to run when the Manchester United man got caught too far forward.
|MESUT OZIL & ANDRE SCHURRLE
The stage was set for Mesut Ozil to deliver a big performance for Germany at this World Cup but again he struggled to stand out.
The Arsenal playmaker started on the left wing but often drifted inside as he looked to get involved in the game. In a frustrating first half his final ball was often lacking and he carried little threat when in or around the French box. It was an all-too-familiar Ozil performance - neat in possession and comfortable on the ball but with little penetration.
His chance to make a telling contribution did arrive in the second half as, with France gambling numbers forward, he drove forward on the counterattack and squared for Muller, who missed his kick before Schurrle smashed straight at Lloris. But it was a rare bright moment in an otherwise average performance that saw him eventually hooked for Mario Gotze with seven minutes to play.
Chelsea star Schurrle, on the other hand, was far more involved in Germany's key moments of the quarter-final despite only coming on as a second-half substitute. He will be disappointed that he did not take at least one of two chances to kill the game off, though, as twice he had opportunities to wrap up the game only to fire at Lloris on both occasions.
|FERNANDINHO & PAULINHO
Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho had big shoes to fill with ever-present Luiz Gustavo suspended for the meeting with Colombia but he certainly didn't let his Brazil down as they held on to reach the semi-finals.
Playing in a holding role but with license to roam, the 29-year-old often carried the ball forward and drove at the heart of the Colombia midfield before offloading to the likes of Neymar and Oscar. He wasn't frightened to put the boot in, either, clattering James Rodriguez on a couple of occasions. Colombia's star man knew he was in a game.
Like many of his team-mates, Fernandinho was flagging on an energy-sapping night in Fortaleza towards the end but lasted the full 90 minutes as Brazil edged through. As for Paulinho, the Tottenham man was less involved in the game and was clumsy in possession at times.
He played his part in the victory, though, anchoring the midfield for the most part before being replaced with a little under five minutes remaining.
|OSCAR & RAMIRES
With Brazil coming out of the tramps quickest in Fortaleza, Oscar thrived in midfield with both Fred and Neymar to aim at ahead of him.
Colombia's defence were stunned after Thiago Silva's early goal and the Chelsea man nearly doubled his side's lead after 20 minutes with a fine curling shot from the edge of the area, but David Silva saved well to his right.
More interestingly, though, more than once in the first half Oscar showed the lesser-seen tough-tackling nature of his game to a series of Colombia attacks.
The 22-year-old's influence faded slightly after the break as tempers raised in a heated Estadio Castelao but was still key to many of Brazil's more positive forays forward before helping out Paulinho and Fernandinho in the latter stages.
Ramires came on with eight minutes to play as Brazil looked to hold on to their slender one-goal advantage and played his part as the hosts dropped deeper and deeper, but saw little of the ball.