When finally the nation woke from 24 hours of celebrating sweet German incompetence, it saw its team defeated by Belgium B and cast into the half of the draw mostly populated by nations with a record as mediocre as England's own in recent years.
England will play Colombia while Belgium takes on Japan in the round of 16. With Dembele and Fellaini paying close attention to Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield, England's creativity was nullified, leaving Tielemans to dictate play from deep, and it was the Belgium playmaker who would carve out the first chance of the game, collecting the ball in midfield and surging forward before unleashing a swerving shot that had Pickford at full-stretch to prevent it dipping under the crossbar.
Resting some starters and with possibly more to be gained with a loss in the match than a win, England never attacked with a convincing effort, and the match ended at the 1-0 mark.
Belgium fan Mark Moors, 50, from Brussels, said he agreed with his national team's manager and preferred a draw with England.
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After the narrow win, Belgium finished the group stage at the first spot and will now face the runners-up of Group G, Japan, in the round of 16 match. Harry Kane has been in prolific form in Russian Federation, netting five goals in his first two matches to lead the scoring charts.
Site highlights each day to your inbox. "And whoever we play, in a one-off game, is capable of beating us".
Southgate, though, was adamant nothing other than three points against Belgium has been discussed, insisting his side are prepared for the prospect of facing more hard opponents, having beaten Panama and Tunisia so far in Russian Federation. We all trust him as a group and hopefully it's the right decision in the long run.
"We don't like to lose, but tonight there were other factors that were more important", Southgate said.
"We had some good ones in the second half". After a detour at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland, he found a new home a year ago at Real Sociedad.
"In the first half we couldn't quite work out, 'Are these people here trying to do something or are we going to have to sit through this?' People were whistling, slow clapping and it was clear that the crowd and I think everyone watching at home wasn't pleased by halftime".
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Players who amass two yellow cards in the three group matches will miss the following game.
At halftime SBS football analyst Craig Foster suggested Belgium receiving two yellows was a tactical move and criticised the disrespect both sides showed to the fans, who were jeering and whistling throughout the boring opening stanza.
"We don't like losing, we don't like to lose matches, but the primary objectives for me we got and I understand that and I think the supporters in the stadium understood that as well".
But in Belgium they face the world´s third-ranked side, and a squad loaded with world-class talent such as Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.
With England's fans now nearly expecting a deep run in the knockout stages, a second round loss would leave them empty and the narrative could quickly turn against coach Gareth Southgate for his negative approach against Belgium.
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