It looked as though Belgium would never break down a resilient USA when they faced off in the World Cup second round earlier this week.
And nobody would have been as relieved to see the Red Devils break the deadlock as Kevin de Bruyne himself who netted the first goal in extra-time in a pulsating 2-1 victory.
Almost all of Belgium's best play came through him, performing at a level above Eden Hazard as he so often did for his country during World Cup qualifiers.
When all was said and done at the end of the match in Salvador, De Bruyne had contributed a staggering 10 key passes through the course of the game.
Only a record breaking World Cup performance for the number of goalkeeper saves, set by USA's Tim Howard, prevented the scoreline being higher and De Bruyne landing up with a hatful of assists.
|Match||Matchday||Total Key Passes||Goals||Mins|
|Kevin De Bruyne||vs USA||04||10||1||120|
Prior to the game, De Bruyne had made only five key passes in the tournament combined, doubling his output in a single contest.
It was also the highest number of chances created by player in a single game at the World Cup.
But that is not totally unexpected as he played 120 minutes with the game going to extra-time, so we broke down the performances at the World Cup so far to see how De Bruyne's efforts compared on a more favourable basis.
The table below shows the number of minutes per key pass, for players who have played more than 75 minutes in a single game this tournament.
And Kevin de Bruyne's breakdown of a key pass every 12 minutes he was on the pitch against USA still sees his superb individual display come out on top.
This edged Karim Benzema's six in 90 minutes against Switzerland and Lionel Messi's eight in 120 also against the Swiss.
|Match||Matchday||Team||Pos||mins / Key Pass||Mins||Total Key Passes|
|Kevin De Bruyne||vs USA||04||Belgium||MF||12.00||120||10|
|Karim Benzema||vs Switzerland||02||France||FW||15.00||90||6|
|Lionel Messi||vs Switzerland||04||Argentina||FW||15.00||120||8|
|Miralem Pjanic||vs Nigeria||02||Bosnia and Herzegovina||MF||15.00||90||6|
|Kevin Mirallas||vs South Korea||03||Belgium||FW||17.60||88||5|
|Mathieu Valbuena||vs Nigeria||04||France||MF||17.80||89||5|
|Emmanuel Emenike||vs Bosnia and Herzegovina||02||Nigeria||FW||18.00||90||5|
De Bruyne's big performance on the big stage, in a game where he also scored a decisive goal to tip the game in Belgium's favour, shows what a special player he is.
It certainly asks questions of former club Chelsea who never gave him a real chance, and manager Jose Mourinho who ostracised him before selling him in January of this year to Wolfsburg for £17 million.
De Bruyne is only going to get better, and may have a lot more to say at this World Cup. Chelsea may well go onto further regret not sticking with him, or even sending him out on loan again until the end of this season just passed.