But, with 25 minutes to go, Fellaini was brought on with Belgium trailing by one goal to Algeria and performed magic as the giant midfielder dragged his side to victory.
It was a performance that went against the stereotype Fellaini created of himself from last season and highlighted his ability when used in a more advanced position.
Fellaini scored one and was a nuisance to the Algeria defence from the moment he was brought on.
Kevin De Bruyne put in a fantastic ball which Fellaini headed past an hapless Adi M’Bolhi before the Belgians found quickly found themselves 2-1 ahead when Dries Mertens finished a swift counter-attack.
Fellaini has now scored more World Cup goals in 25 minutes than Wayne Rooney has in nine games.
A good World Cup will only do him a world of good as he seeks to create a future for himself, be at Old Trafford or another club.
With a game against Russia coming up, arguably Belgium’s hardest group opponents, it was pivotal Belgium get the victory against Algeria. Without Fellaini and a change of tactic, it’s hard to see how that would have happened, so all credit to him.
Here’s some of the reaction on Twitter to his performance:
Well done for the first game. Thanks for your support. You are really amazing. Now focus for the second one pic.twitter.com/COL0VBiqdq
— Marouane Fellaini (@Fellaini) June 17, 2014
'Hey, Wayne….It took me 5 minutes to score a World Cup goal, you're shit.' #MUFCPreSeason
— Rich Laverty (@RichJLaverty) June 17, 2014
Fellaini scoring cracked me up, gotta admit it.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) June 17, 2014