It was one of the most bizarre World Cup matches you are ever likely to see.
And ultimately, Gareth Southgate will probably not be too disappointed with the outcome even if all of the fans in the stadium might not agree.
England are off to Moscow for a last 16 showdown with Colombia on Tuesday and if they win that then it is Sweden or Switzerland in the quarters rather than Brazil or Mexico.
See? If we are struggling to work out whether it was better to win Group G or finish second then imagine what it was like for the players, let alone the managers.
In truth, England and Belgium both played as if they were not sure whether they really wanted to win or not.
And the outcome was a lukewarm contest lacking passion, intensity and it felt a world away from being the crunch match that we have spent the last six months building up as the Group decider.
Instead, Southgate and his opposite number Roberto Martinez sent out their respective B teams and with them a message that it was not really that important after all.
So many of these England and Belgium players are team mates at club level and hugged each other before the game, at half time and after the game. That told its own story as well.
The fans booed the teams off at half time, it was a poor first half, while Belgium’s supporters cheered when their players got booked when the game was still goalless as it meant they would finish second by virtue of having more yellow cards.
Even more revealing was that when Adnan Januzaj – remember him? – scored, Martinez stood rooted to the spot, the Belgium boss not showing a flicker of emotion as, in his mind, there was nothing to celebrate.
(Image: FIFA via Getty)
(Image: Dan Mullan)
Januzaj’s 51st winner was a cracker even if it must have left Sunderland fans wondering where on earth that came from while his Manchester United career also petered out in disappointment.
But after some of the best and most dramatic Group matches we have ever seen at a World Cup, this felt like anti-climax. Yes, England are through but the feeling of apathy was overwhelming.
That was always bound to happen after Southgate made eight changes and also used players who have not played competitive games for more than a fortnight.
Maybe that explained why Eric Dier was so ring rusty and why Danny Rose allowed Januzaj so much space to pick his spot before hitting a shot into the top corner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was England’s best player at right wing back, John Stones (one of three survivors with Jordan Pickford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek) went off at half time and needed treatment on his calf on a night of mixed fortunes.
Marcus Rashford had England’s best chance after 66 minutes, Jamie Vardy’s lovely reverse pass put the Manchester United forward clean through only for him to waste the chance.
Rashford’s shot lacked conviction and Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois’s fingertips pushed the ball round the post for a corner.
It looked like it was going wide anyway and you can only imagine the stick Raheem Sterling would get for spurning such a chance.
It’s fair to say that Sterling will be straight back into the starting line-up to face Colombia.
In fact, Southgate can pretty much pick his XI now. Dele Alli will come straight back, Harry Kane has had the rest he definitely did not want and the rest pretty much pick themselves.
(Image: Daily Mirror)
The only other worry was Pickford who might have done better on the goal, his handling was sloppy and distribution even worse.
That is the problem when you tell the players that winning is not everything by picking a weakened team.
Southgate played dream maker by giving his players a run-out in the World Cup, got the last 16 tie that Belgium wanted and yet may just have lost some of England’s positive momentum in the process.