It had been viewed as the game no-one wanted to win but Adnan Januzaj's fine finish early in the second half gave Belgium a 1-0 victory over England to secure top spot in Group G as both sides made wholesale changes to their lineups.
Belgium beat England 1-0 as they refuse to take easy pathAfter a surreal night on the Baltic where England struggled to contain their satisfaction with a defeat that offers them an easier path to the final, Belgium are trusting that World Cup fortune will favour the fearless.
Of course the flip side of all this is that England haven't won a knockout game in the World Cup since 2002 so maybe we shouldn't be looking past Colombia just yet.
In Kaliningrad has completed the final round of group G between England and Belgium.
"Many different reasons", Southgate said of England's knockout struggles. "And whoever we play, in a one-off game, is capable of beating us".
"We created openings to get something from the game, but we have to keep improving".
"I think whoever we played [in the last 16] we believe we're capable of beating [them]", said Southgate.
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It was his second goal of the tournament after also scoring in the 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia . Because Russia has the advantage in goal differential, it would win the group with a draw.
It was only Belgium's second ever win over England and their first since 1936 and coach Roberto Martinez suggested he was not anxious about the impact of the result on his team's possible future opponents. Both teams have already been eliminated from Russian Federation 2018. "I think we've done everything we can as a group to prepare ourselves".
"He is the captain and he knows he will be judged on how far we go as a team".
Success at the Spartak Stadium would highlight the progress in the two years since England's last major tournament ended with a humiliating Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.
As expected both managers used their squads to the full - Martinez switching nine players and Southgate bringing in eight from his reserves, a decision he had described as a "no brainer" in the circumstances.
If they drew the match, the outcome of who finished first and second in Group G will be determined by their respective fair play records.
England would get the odd chance to equalise, the best going to Marcus Rashford as he broke on goal from a Jamie Vardy pass, curling wide of the post as he looked to beat Thibaut Courtois.
"The most important thing for me is the players are in the best physical condition for the game". In the 51st minute of the match, Januzaj's curved shot beat English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.