Belgium came close to seeing their World Cup dreams almost end before they had begun on Tuesday, but Marc Wilmots' men managed to come back from a goal down against Algeria, emerging as 2-1 victors in Belo Horizonte.
And that turnaround wouldn't have come to pass were it not for the impact of Premier League pair Marouane Fellaini and Eden Hazard. The former scored the Red Devils' equaliser, while the latter set up Dries Mertens' winner.
Fellaini came on as a second-half substitute at the Estadio Mineirao, and OptaJean points out just how clinical the Manchester United midfielder was in making a swift impact:
FourFourTwo's StatsZone breaks down the goal, set up by a superb Kevin De Bruyne cross from the left flank:
BT Sport's James Horncastle and The Football Front were full of praise not just for the header itself—which cracked in nicely off the underside of the woodwork—but also for his performance as a whole:
However, talk did inevitably turn to Fellaini's club involvement—or often lack thereof—with Alex Shaw of ESPN noting how the player can be so disappointing one moment, but mesmerising the next:
It wasn't long before David Moyes became the butt of the jokes, though, due to his apparent lack of tactical nous in how best to utilise Fellaini:
Early on in the game, while Algeria were still in the ascendancy, some began to question whether or not this Belgian side really was all it had been cracked up to be during World Cup qualification.
The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg and Squawka's James McManus were just some of those to question the depth of genuine, top-class talent in Wilmots' pool, but neither denied the quality of Hazard:
Of course, the key moment came on 79 minutes, though, where a De Bruyne tackle deep inside the Belgian half eventually found its way to Hazard on the left. His driving run ended with a cross-field pass to Mertens, who took care of the rest with aplomb:
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan heaped praise on the Chelsea winger for his display:
FourFourTwo broke down Hazard's performance, which shows that he was indeed one of Wilmots' creative gems:
It wasn't the prettiest of results for Wilmots' side, but dispatching Algeria with three points in tow is something for Belgium to be proud of, and a messy start is arguably preferable to an easy ride at the group stage.
Next up for the Red Devils comes the challenge of Russia this Sunday, with Fabio Capello's men posing the most difficult task that they're likely to face in the first round.
Fellaini's performance may have been enough for Wilmots to consider starting him in the next outing, but it's likely that tactics will play a major hand in whatever shape it is the manager intends to line up with.
Hazard, meanwhile, maintains his spot as an untouchable talent.