Speaking to the New York Times earlier this month, Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke of his disappointment at missing out on a place at the tournament. True to form, he managed to blatantly shoehorn in a reminder that he is, by his own "admission", the best.
"I have to accept it, even if I want to be in the World Cup," he said. "I mean, I think the best player belongs in the biggest tournament. And the World Cup is the biggest tournament, and I'm not there. So I'm suffering, I'm disappointed, I'm angry."
The thing is, the man truly is a beacon of relentless brilliance. The Paris Saint Germain forward signed for the French club in 2012, in a move that made him the world's most expensive footballer in history in combined fees. He made an instant impact as Ligue 1's top goalscorer with 30 goals, the first player to hit that mark since 1990.
While this summer's tournament has seen stars such as Messi and Muller live up to their statuses as the world's best, one glaring admission from highlights reels is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Any doubt that Zlatan could carry a country on his own was shattered during a friendly against an England side who simply couldn't cope with the Swedish captain's explosive attacking play and poise in front of goal. He ran riot, scoring four goals, including one overhead kick from 35 yards that reinforced his reputation as one of the world's most imaginative players.
One world star to make it to the finals is Brazil captain Thiago Silva, a teammate of Ibrahimovic's at PSG who left AC Milan to go to France at the same time as the Swedish icon. Silva has enjoyed a successful tournament so far, leading Brazil to an easy progression through to the last 16. Today they meet Chile,, and against the fleet footed Chileans he'll need to display the leadership and organisational skills that led "Big Phil" Scolari to give him the captaincy. It's a huge game, that thousands of South Americans have travelled to Belo Horizonte to watch.
It's a shame that one of the world's best defenders and one of the world's most mercurial strikers, both teammates at club level, weren't afforded the opportunity to face off against each other this summer. Watch them team up irresistably for PSG below and read more about the history of the beautiful game here.