In his first social media comments following the defeat, Neymar posted a message on his Instagram account, saying: "I can say that it is the saddest moment of my career".
But the equalizer that would've taken the match to extra time was never forthcoming, and with Belgium now through to the semifinals, Brazil is headed home without adding a sixth World Cup to its trophy cabinet. "We can't give him any space either, so it is going to take a collective effort".
The South American giants were sent packing by Belgium in Kazan in the last eight encounter, the 2-1 score condemning Tite's side to an early exit from the competition.
"I played only a year with him but I have affection for him", he said.
What's more, the wide-open remaining field in Russian Federation features players who, if they perform decisively in a winning cause, will have demonstrably better Ballon d'Or credentials than Neymar and push the big two harder than they have been at any stage over the past decade.
Would Messi crown a glorious career by leading Argentina to football's biggest prize? "I can't answer that question right now". Or would the spotlight shine brightest on Neymar, the man with the expectations of 207 million Brazilians on his shoulders? I think the Belgian footballer is quite unique - technically-gifted player with an incredible footballing brain.
Kane meanwhile has been deadly in front of goal and will fancy himself against Croatia's centre-back pairing of Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren, the latter of which Kane terrorised this past Premier League season with three goals.
Although far from the only guilty individual, Neymar's play-acting became the main talking point after every Brazil match.
Two of the World Cup's outstanding players will now go head-to-head in St Petersburg, with De Bruyne aware of the threat that Mbappe will pose. "I need to contribute".
The versatile 28-year-old, who played a friendly for Morocco in 2010 before committing to Belgium, ran himself into the ground at left wing back against Brazil before making way for the better-known Thomas Vermaelen seven minutes from time.