Three newcomers that lit up their South American teams
With no FIFA dates until the end of next March, there is plenty of time for the achievements of the last few days to linger in the memory. Below is a quick look at three South American newcomers to international football who have cause to look back with pleasure on the events of November 2014.
Roberto Firmino -- Brazil
The vast majority of the Brazil squad play in Europe -- but it is very difficult to break into the squad playing for a European club without having first built up a name back home.
The German press could not understand the absence of Hoffenheim striker Roberto Firmino, but he was an almost complete unknown back home until Dunga called him into the squad for the recent friendlies. And, in Firmino's situation, if getting in is difficult, staying in is harder.
Some in the local press speculated that this would turn out to be a classic case of a player given a few minutes off the bench and then quietly discarded -- as happened with Diego Costa in 2013, leading him to throw in his lot with Spain.
Firmino could have been going the same way. He came on against Turkey with the match already decided and petering out. And given half an hour against Austria he had made little impression -- until out of nothing he scored the winning goal with a superbly struck long-range effort.
It was a lovely way to introduce himself to the great Brazilian public -- and with the Copa America to come at the end of the season he should have bought himself enough time to have a chance of building an international career.
Jeison Murillo -- Colombia
One of Colombia's most pressing post-World Cup priorities has been to blood some young centre-backs, and they have hit the jackpot with Jeison Murillo from Granada in Spain.
Over the course of the last few days, the 22-year-old has gone from a promising youngster to a fully-fledged international star.
The match against the United States in London last Friday was a fine showcase for his talents. With Colombia conceding early they were running the risk of leaving themselves open to the U.S. counter-attack. Murillo, though, dealt with the threat immaculately.
He was dominant in the air, quick across the ground, sure-footed in the tackle and comfortable on the ball on either foot.
Murillo was also impressive in Tuesday's 1-0 win away to Slovenia. There was one worrying moment -- when he got caught flat-footed and was drawn into a foul that earned him a yellow card. Young centre backs will always make the odd mistake. Colombia coach Jose Pekerman can feel confident that Murillo will not make many.
Carlos Sanchez -- Uruguay
Storming club form down the right side of midfield for Argentine giants River Plate was nearly not enough to earn Carlos Sanchez an international call-up. Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tabarez is in the process of rebuilding his team, and wondered if there was space for a 29-year-old newcomer.
On the evidence of the last few days, Sanchez would seem to have done enough to keep himself in contention for a place in the squad for next year's Copa America.
He has the lung power to add thrust to the team's attacks -- important because Tabarez is aware of Uruguay's limitations. Against stronger opponents it is always likely that the team will sit deep and look to counter.
Sanchez gives them speed on the transition, both with his running and with his capacity to switch the play with long cross field passes.
Indeed, his fine striking of the ball comes in especially handy at set pieces. Two of Uruguay's recent goals, one each against Costa Rica and Chile, came from his set pieces. Sanchez, then, came through Tuesday's dress rehearsal for the Copa America away to the Chileans. He should be back in June for the real thing.
Tim Vickery covers South American football for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Vickery.