British hopes of triumphing in Europe's premier club competition were flying high after an unprecedented five clubs qualified for the lucrative knockout phase of the Champions League.
Manchester United survived an early scare at Old Trafford to send ambitious Benfica packing 3-1 and into the UEFA Cup, while Arsenal played out a 0-0 draw with another Portuguese side, FC Porto, to join them in the last 16 on Wednesday.
English champions Chelsea had qualified with room to spare, as had Liverpool and Scottish champions Celtic, who were comprehensively defeated 3-1 at FC Copenhagen as the Danes fought to restore some viking pride.
All four English Premiership clubs topped their respective groups, meaning the cross-Premiership clashes will be avoided at least until the quarter-finals.
Only Celtic, who finished second in group F behind Manchester United, failed to avoid that relative setback which means the Scottish champions will play the first leg of the knockout phase at home.
But just how long any of the five Brits survive is another matter.
The likes of nine-times European champions Real Madrid, two-time champions Barcelona and six-times champions AC Milan are all in the hat for the December 15, 2006 draw.
United manager Alex Ferguson was buoyed by his team's performance on the night, and hopes the two-time winners can go one better than last year's beaten finalists Arsenal.