Every four years, a dozen clubs or so overpay for players on the back of what they did in somewhere between three and seven games. Sometimes those players are good enough that everyone forgets about the money spent on them, and sometimes they go down in history as massive flops, representative of cash flushed down the toilet during a post-World Cup spending binge.
Here are nine players who used the World Cup to earn bigger -- or in one case, more efficient -- moves than they might have thought possible before the competition.
While Divock Origi played well enough at Lille last season to both earn a spot on Belgium's World Cup team and get on the radar of Europe's elite, he probably wasn't in line for a big eight-figure move before he scored in Brazil. Liverpool were reportedly interested in him before the tournament, and they're probably not too pleased that the price has gone up.
Before he starred for Belgium, Origi was probably going to stay in Lille for another year, or move to a club like Liverpool for a pretty cheap fee and go out on loan. Now, he's going to cost around £10m, and he's going to want a shot at making the first team at Anfield.
The Seattle Sounders probably had no intention of fielding offers for DeAndre Yedlin before the World Cup, but he played well enough for the United States that he's fetching bids the team and MLS won't be able to turn down. The asking price has reportedly been set at $6.5m for Yedlin, and it appears that more than one team is willing to pay it. Eventually, it'll be up to Yedlin to decide where he wants to go. Whether he'd prefer to move to Europe now or negotiate a loan back to the Sounders for the time being remains an open question.
While Yedlin is just 21 and has a pretty limitless ceiling, Besler is in a slightly different situation. He's already 27 and he's only average size for a central defender, so the offers coming in for him are from smaller clubs and for less money than Yedlin. But they're offers from top flight European clubs nonetheless, and they weren't coming in for Besler before he turned in a great defensive performance for the United States.
Besler's agent has come out and said that he's deciding between a move to the Bundesliga, a move to the Premier League or a new contract with Sporting Kansas City that would presumably make him a designated player. Besler is a Kansas City native and has stated that the idea of spending his entire career with the club and setting every club record he possibly can appeals to him, so a move abroad isn't a foregone conclusion, but it's there if he wants it.
By virtue of being Liga MX's leading scorer last season, Enner Valencia was likely to draw interest from Europe even if he didn't perform at the World Cup, but his three goals for Ecuador likely upped the price a bit. He's on the verge of a move to Premier League club West Ham United, for a reported £12m, a huge fee for a player coming out of Mexico. For a comparison, Jackson Martinez moved to Porto for €5m plus incentives, while 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez cost Manchester United £7m plus incentives.
Because 'Memo' was such a big star in Mexico, it was a bit of a surprise when he made a move to a club as small as AC Ajaccio in France, but it's about to pay off. His impressive performances against France's elite clubs got him on the radar of bigger teams before the World Cup and his stock only went up with his spectacular showings against Brazil, Croatia and the Netherlands.
He's also available on a free transfer, meaning he's about to get pretty big wages, since the team signing him won't have to pay a big transfer fee like they would need for a comparable goalkeeper. Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly interested, as well as Malaga in Spain and France's bigger clubs.
As great as Ochoa and American Tim Howard were in the World Cup, fellow CONCACAF goalkeeper Keylor Navas stole the show with his play in goal for Costa Rica. Like Ochoa, he was already on big clubs' radar for his play against the top teams in his league -- he plays at Levante in Spain, and has made life difficult for Real Madrid and Barcelona on multiple occasions.
While Navas isn't available on a free like Ochoa, he might as well be. His release clause is reportedly €7m, a ridiculously low figure for a player of his quality. Levante also don't pay much -- they've had the smallest TV contract in La Liga for most of their time in the top flight -- so a big club can double or triple his wages without making a serious financial commitment.
Navas has been linked most strongly with Bayern Munich. Sadly for him, he wouldn't start there, but they'd probably send his salary into the stratosphere.
Ron Vlaar's career path has been an odd one. Once upon a time, he was billed as the Netherlands' top center back prospect. Then injury claimed two full years of his career and he became an afterthought, but he recovered to put together three solid seasons with Feyenoord before earning a move to Aston Villa. He's continued to be a solid, if unspectacular player in the Premier League, but he was one of the best defenders at the World Cup, and Villa might be looking to cash in.
Villa owner Randy Lerner has been flirting with selling the club recently, and if he holds onto it, he probably wants to make sure he's not losing money. Meanwhile, manager Paul Lambert has transfer targets and a top young defender in Jores Okore sitting on his bench. If someone comes in with an eight-figure offer for Vlaar, expect Vlaar to want to move and Villa to seriously consider cashing in.
While Blind's certainly good enough to be a starting left back or central midfielder for a mid-table team in Europe's big leagues, his real value might be as a utility man for an elite side. At the World Cup, he played as a left back and defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3, as well as left wingback, left central defense, left shuttling midfield and defensive midfield in a 3-5-2. He's going to make more money as a 12th man/Swiss army knife at a club like Manchester United or Juventus than he would at a smaller club, and he'd probably play just as many games too.
Someone's going to buy Daley Blind from Ajax on the back of his World Cup performances. Before the World Cup, that team was likely to be a very average side. After the way he played in Brazil, he can set his sights on something bigger.
In a strange way, Luis Suarez's bite helped pave the way for his move to Barcelona. Yes, the Blaugrana were almost certainly working out a deal with Liverpool before the competition began, but his third incident of this nature and resulting suspension probably expedited the process.
If Suarez had a drama-free World Cup, Liverpool probably would have strung Barcelona along for another month or six weeks, leaking to the media that he's not for sale for any price and doing everything they could to suck every cent they could out of Barcelona. Instead, they decided to just take somewhere in the neighborhood of £70m to get rid of a constant headache. This could have been another Gareth Bale saga, but by doing what he did, Suarez made sure that Liverpool were happy to get rid of him.