A brilliant strike by Adnan Januzaj lit up an otherwise insipid clash as Belgium beat England 1-0 to secure top spot in World Cup Group G in Kaliningrad yesterday.
Januzaj's superb second-half goal sent Belgium into a last 16 clash with Japan while England will now advance to a second round meeting with Colombia on Tuesday.
In the day's earlier Group F matches, Japan became the first team in World Cup history to qualify based on fair play points. Although they lost their match against the already eliminated Poland 1-0, they beat Senegal -- who also lost 1-0 to top-placed Colombia -- to second place in the group on the basis of having fewer yellow cards.
By finishing second in the group, England have though avoided a loaded top half of the draw containing past winners Brazil, France, Argentina and Uruguay as well as European champions Portugal.
The fact second place in the group was no disaster seemed to be a big factor in both coaches' team selection with their places in the last 16 already secured.
Southgate made eight changes with Belgian boss Roberto Martinez going one better as only Thibaut Courtois and Dedryck Boyata retained their places from the 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia.
Star Belgian duo Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne joined England captain Harry Kane in watching from the sidelines and their ability to thrill was badly missed as locals in the crowd turned on both sides with jeers and chants of "Russia".
Youri Tielemans did test Jordan Pickford with a fiercely struck effort just six minutes in that forced the Everton stopper into his best save of the World Cup so far.
Moments later Pickford let a Michy Batshuayi effort squeeze past him and was rescued by Gary Cahill's goal-line clearance.
Six of England's eight goals against Tunisia and Panama came from set-pieces and they again proved the Three Lions greatest threat in the first-half as Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed just wide.
Marcus Rashford had the opportunity to put serious pressure on Raheem Sterling for his place in the side after two disappointing performances, but Rashford failed to further his case and fired well off target when presented with a chance from the edge of the box just after half-time.
Januzaj suddenly sparked the game into life moments later when he twisted and turned inside the England box before curling a wonderful strike into the top corner.
Rashford had by a distance England's best chance 25 minutes from time, but again slotted wide with just Courtois to beat.
Belgium were given a major boost when captain Vincent Kompany made his return from injury for the final 15 minutes.
Instead of Kane, Southgate brought on Danny Welbeck to ensure every outfield player in his squad featured across the group games.
And Welbeck nearly earned a point when his goalbound effort was deflected just wide by Fellaini.