It is a tale as old as time: reputations being made and broken at the World Cup.
Pele and Michael Owen are just two who announced themselves on this stage as teenagers in the past, while Kylian Mbappe of France -- though hardly a secret ahead of the tournament -- is doing something similar here in Russia.
We were expecting to pay homage to Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, and their faces were everywhere in the tournament previews, but the World Cup is a law unto itself. It never works out quite the way you think, does it?
It is part of football's wonderful democracy that others have emerged to steal the headlines; in some cases, they are players who were virtual unknowns in terms of global profile.
Here is my team of breakout stars:
Cho Hyun-woo (South Korea): He came from nowhere to grab the goalkeeper jersey, and his display against Germany was a big reason the complacent champions were eliminated in Kazan.
Benjamin Pavard (France): The classy right-back had not started for his country until four months ago. His sensational swerving strike against Argentina is a contender for goal of the tournament.
Morteza Pouraliganji (Iran): The rock at the heart of a miserly defence. It will be a surprise if there are no moves to sign him.
Harry Maguire (England): Two years ago, he was watching Euro 2016 in the stands with his mates. Here he has written his own headlines with commanding, ball-playing displays.
Lucas Hernandez (France): Like teammate Pavard, he was seen only as a back-up until recently but has turned in some dynamic displays at left-back.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay): The Juventus player was a cool, assured, elegant presence in Uruguay's reshaped midfield.
Denis Cheryshev (Russia): He started the tournament on the bench but the Villarreal man burst onto the scene with four goals from midfield. Only England's Harry Kane has scored more.
Matthew Leckie (Australia): Despite a group-stage exit, the right-sided attacker was a live wire; he looks busy and useful.
Ante Rebic (Croatia): A dynamic and powerful attacking presence in his country's deep run.
Takashi Inui (Japan): At the heart of his team's eye-catching football in a luckless, agonising defeat against Belgium; Real Betis got a pre-tournament bargain.
Artem Dzyuba (Russia): Frozen out by Roberto Mancini at Zenit, he was in danger of missing the World Cup but won back his place and scored goals. In doing so, he proved there's still a place for the old-fashioned No. 9.
It is a pleasure to see these players and others seize their day when it matters most. You can expect to hear more about most of them.