Glory, heartbreak and nervous tension reverberated around the training camps of World Cup squads on the 20th day of the competition as the first round of knockout matches neared a close.
Belgium’s last gasp victory over Japan on Monday night saw the players celebrating well into Tuesday, with Captain Vincent Kompany praising the squad’s team spirit on Twitter.
Star winger Eden Hazard also talked of team spirit getting The Red Devils through the game against Japan and thanked Belgian fans for their support, adding “we needed it yesterday”.
It was a third World Cup for veteran midfielder Keisuke Honda who called the World Cup his “dream”.
Mexico’s electric form during the group stages could not be repeated against Brazil on Monday and the loss to the Selecao meant the end of the road for Oribe Peralta’s international career.
The 34-year-old striker, who scored 25 goals in 67 games for his country, used Instagram to call time playing for the Mexican national team, years which he described as “the greatest pride of my career”.
England’s sometime captain Jordan Henderson was the only player to take to social media, posting a solitary “game day” message to his Instagram account.