The United States men's national team's performance in the 2014 World Cup was a living, breathing and sweating example of why sports are unpredictable.
Here are some of the names you probably hoped you would later see in this post-tournament piece before the World Cup started: Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Geoff Cameron.
None of those men enhanced his profile in this World Cup, and three of them (Bradley, Cameron, Altidore) were either injury non-factors or underperformers.
And the Americans still survived the "Group of Death."
They survived because some players for whom expectations were low or nonexistent before the World Cup started launched themselves into the American picture.
These five players all saw their football profiles expand and increase in the 2014 World Cup.