The World Cup last-16 certainly didn’t leave us short of highlights.
Whether it was the free-flowing attacking displays of Brazil, France and England or Morocco’s sensational upset of France, we’ve been royally entertained.
We know all about the main storylines of Cristiano Ronaldo being benched and Kylian Mbappe netting yet again, but what about some of the things you might have missed?
Sportsmail rounds up some of the other talking points from the first knockout round.
Saka made of the Wright stuff
Lee Dixon mentioned during his co-commentary stint that pundit Ian Wright would especially appreciate Bukayo Saka’s finish for England’s third goal against Senegal.
And that was perhaps because he remembers Wright scoring a near carbon copy goal in his Arsenal days in a game the former right-back played in!
Bukayo Saka produced a lovely dinked finish for England’s third goal as they beat Senegal
ITV commentator Lee Dixon said the finish reminded him of one Ian Wright produced in 1996
Back in 1996, Nigel Winterburn was in the Phil Foden role bursting down the left hand side and squaring the ball across goal for an incoming Wright.
Without breaking his stride, Wright dinked an impudent, first-time finish over the late Pavel Srnicek to find the net, just as Saka did to Senegal’s Edouard Mendy to score for England.
Arsenal’s social media account missed a trick by not posting a comparison clip of both goals, scored by two of their fan favourites.
Penalty heroics may not be the Sweetest Thing for Bono
Morocco hero Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou has a Word Cup quarter-final against Portugal to look forward to but might also be wary of the reception waiting for him back in Spain after the Sevilla goalkeeper saved two penalties to help send them crashing out.
Especially if the reaction is anything like that in Italy after their 2002 World Cup exit.
Morocco goalkeeper Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou made two saves as Spain were beaten on penalties
Italy were dumped out by co-hosts South Korea in a controversial game with the winner scored by Ahn Jung-hwan.
He was playing in Italy at the time for Perugia, became public enemy No 1 and saw his loan contract initially cancelled by club president Luciano Gaucci who reportedly said: ‘He was a phenomenon only when he played against Italy. I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian football.’
Gaucci tried to perform a U-turn and a saga then unfolded over the players’ registration.
Ahn Jung-hwan scores the Golden Goal for South Korea as they stunned Italy back in 2002
In fairness, if there is any fury in Spain, they should possibly focus that on themselves.
In losing on penalties to Morocco they became the first country in World Cup history to lose four shoot-outs and just the second to fail to score.
All that after boss Luis Enrique instructed each of his players to take 1000 penalties over the last year to ensure they are ready for that eventuality in the tournament.
Croatia are World Cup’s marathon men
Into the latter stages of the World Cup Croatia go again. But strangely they have done so having still not won a knockout tie in 90 minutes since reaching the semi-finals in 1998.
In 2002, 2006 and 2014 they failed to get out of their groups but in 2018 they reached the final after beating Denmark and Russia on penalties and England in extra-time.
Their run continued this year with a penalty shoot-out win over Japan. Brazil be warned, especially if the game remains level after 90 minutes.
Croatia saw yet another World Cup match go the distance as they beat Japan on penalties
Keeper Dominik Livakovic was their hero in the shoot-out against Japan with three saves
Richarlison’s funky pigeon is a smash
The fun police might not have liked Brazil’s celebrations but if they are good enough for the original Ronaldo who are we mere mortals to complain?
The great R9 wanted a tutorial on how to do Richarlison’s pigeon celebration, which he even got manager Tite to perform during their demolition of South Korea, so got a quick lesson from the man himself in a post-match interview.
Brazil’s players have been just as keen to absorb some of Ronaldo’s magic with Richarlison following winger Rodrygo in patting down one of football’s all-time greats after the post-match chats in the hope that some of his magic rubs off.
Richarlison scored in Brazil’s game with South Korea, and took his pigeon dance to boss Tite
Regrets for Kuol after miss
Even though he was unable to convert a chance for what would have been a sensational last-minute equaliser for Australia against Argentina, Garang Kuol did not seem interested in suggestions he was wrong to shoot one bit.
After controlling a cross brilliantly, spinning and firing goalwards, Newcastle-bound Kuol was thwarted by the onrushing Emiliano Martinez.
Garang Kuol went through all kinds of emotions after his near-miss against Argentina
Kuol saw his last-gasp effort saved by the Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez
While his relieved Argentina teammates piled onto the Aston Villa goalkeeper, Kuol turned away left to reflect on how close he came to making himself a national hero.
All manner of emotions must have been coursing through his body at that point.
And judging by the brief look of disgust on his face annoyance must have been one when he spotted a teammate with his arms out, implying he should have passed backwards to him instead of shooting.
Stop-start Lewandowski grateful for second chance
Robert Lewandowski was a lucky man to get the chance to score his second World Cup goal against France.
He netted from the spot in injury time after his initial effort was saved by Hugo Lloris.
The Barcelona striker was presented with the opportunity to retake his penalty due to encroachment from France’s players and Lloris being off his line.
Hugo Lloris saved Robert Lewandowski’s first attempt after an elaborate, stuttering run-up
The Polish striker was given a second chance after Lloris stepped off his line – and took it
But it is no wonder they had moved early with Lewandowski’s elaborate, stuttering run-up taking so long, sparking renewed debate about whether such run-ups should be allowed.
His effort was so poor even Lewandowski knew he was not going to score. He said: ‘I didn’t kick well, I already knew he was going to save it.’
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