After England travelled to a World Cup for the first time since the 1950s without a Tottenham Hotspur player on board, Spurs fans chasing familiar faces were generally forced into following Belgium, who took three Lilywhites men to Brazil.
However just one of that trio enjoyed his time in South America, and he faces little competition for the title of best Spurs player at the World Cup.
A disastrous start in Belgium’s opening match, where Vertonghen gave away the penalty that led to Algeria’s goal, suggested the defender’s poor domestic season was set to continue in Brazil.
Vertonghen was dropped for Belgium’s second match, but came on in the 31st minute, and did not miss another moment of the Red Devils’ tournament, even scoring the winer in their final group game against South Korea.
The French captain showed no signs of a hangover after a season spent picking the ball out of his own net due to the incompetence of the defence in front of him, steering France through to the quarter-finals, where they lost to eventual winners Germany.
A whirlwind second half of the season, where he was plunged into the Spurs’ first team by Tim Sherwood, led to Bentaleb travelling to Brazil with Algeria, where he started two games to help the Fennec Foxes into the knockout stages.
Bentaleb’s calm displays will have furthered his burgeoning reputation and for all the changes Mauricio Pochettino will make to Sherwood’s side, the young midfielder should still be around the first team.
Spurs’ fans spent much of the season scratching their heads wondering when the Paulinho they saw at the Confederations Cup in 2013 was going to show up in London.
Brazil were left wondering the same thing at the World Cup, with the midfielder eventually dropped due to his completely inconspicuous displays.
Not only did the left-back play badly in Cameroon’s first two matches, he aimed a headbutt at a teammate to get himself dropped for their third game.
Mousa Dembele/Nacer Chadli
Like Vertonghen, both men started Belgium’s opener against Algeria, but unlike the defender, they did not revive their tournaments after poor showings in that match.