United States coach Bob Bradley lauded Landon Donovan's character following the midfielder's match-winning performance against Algeria.
Donovan struck the only goal of the game in injury-time as the US, who would have been out if they had only managed a draw, ended up not only securing a place in the last 16 but also finished top of Group C.
Bradley heaped praise on the 28-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy playmaker when asked about Donovan's development in recent times. "From the soccer end, he mentions the low after the World Cup in 2006. But there was also the challenge of taking a bigger role, being more responsible as a leader," said Bradley.
"I think these kinds of challenges came at a good time for him and he's never shied away from challenges.
"Over these years, both on and off the field, I think the fact that he's grown and matured and accepted these types of challenges has made a huge difference."
Despite his side's exit, Algeria coach Rabah Saadane was pleased with his side's performance and believes the damage to their World Cup hopes was done in their first match when they suffered a late defeat to Slovenia.
"I think we managed to create a lot of opportunities today. We didn't have long to adapt to the altitude, and I think the team did very well," he said.
"I think that the first match was the decisive match, we didn't get the right result then and I think that's probably the lesson we need to take home with us."
Saadane was less happy with his side's troubles in front of goal, with Algeria unable to get off the mark in South Africa and now having netted just once in their last seven matches.
"I think we could have done better (against the US), we shot from distance a great deal, we had a number of goalscoring chances and we should have done better," he said.