In Focus: Stars of the World Cup group stage
The World Cup group stage has produced some seismic shocks — and has provided the platform for a number of dazzling individual displays.
Germany and Belgium are going home early, while Australia, Japan and Morocco have reached the last 16.
A select few players have demonstrated their quality and class in the competition's first three games, standing out from the crowd with their performances.
Here are LiveScore's five stars of the group stage.
Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
Few players have shouldered a greater share of their side's goalscoring burden than Bruno Fernandes.
He contributed directly to four of his team's six goals across the group stage, netting twice and registering two assists.
The attacking midfielder has managed just two Premier League strikes in 13 appearances for Manchester United this season — but he looks back to his brilliant best in his country's colours.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Lionel Messi is Argentina's main man in attack.
He has hit the target with eight of his 13 shots, scoring twice as his side bounced back from a shock opening-game defeat against Saudi Arabia to top Group C.
The Paris Saint-Germain star is also La Albiceleste's creator-in-chief, crafting nine chances and registering an assist.
If Argentina are to go on and lift the World Cup, they will need their seven-time Ballon d'Or-winning captain to continue his rich vein of form.
Wojciech Szczesny (Poland)
Wojciech Szczesny has been a surprise star of the group stage.
Goalkeepers are often overlooked when it comes to individual acclaim — but it is hard to miss the 6ft 5in shot-stopper after his displays thus far.
The Juventus custodian has faced two penalties in three games but saved them both, making a spectacular double-stop to deny the rebound against Saudi Arabia and halting the mighty Messi.
Szczesny's 18 overall saves have helped Poland record two clean sheets, while his long kicking — attempting 85 long passes and completing 38 — was a fundamental aspect of how the Eagles gained territory.
Kylian Mbappe (France)
Kylian Mbappe was afforded a rest in France's final group game against Tunisia, with Les Bleus virtually assured of top spot regardless of the result.
He did come on in the second half — but despite those reduced minutes, the Parisian still managed to score three times in Group D, while also registering an assist.
The 23-year-old certainly was not shy about pulling the trigger, taking 16 shots and hitting the target with seven.
Mbappe also dragged his side forward with his direct dribbling, attempting 17 take-ons and succeeding with eight.
Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)
Like Mbappe, Cody Gakpo also netted three times in the group stage.
However, the Netherlands forward did so in remarkable fashion, scoring in each of his side's three games and seeing every one of his shots on target go in.
The 23-year-old often drifts into wide areas — putting in 19 crosses and connecting with five — as he looks to create, as well as getting on the scoresheet himself.
Oranje manager Louis van Gaal has understandably been full of praise for his No8.
He said: "Things can change but Cody has everything it takes to become a star.
"He has a wonderful personality to become a star player because he is open minded to anything and everything."