For Southgate, it was as much about ensuring players like Kane did not pick up injuries in a game that wasn't essential.
"We want to win football matches and we also know the big game is the knockout tie to come, so it was hard to balance all of those". Everyone can see the level we've been playing at.
England didn't pick up a single yellow card in the game, though Belgium's win negated the prematch hype around another round of 16 match decided by "fair play".
Belgium's next game will be against Japan, a team which Martinez described to be very "dynamic, well organized, strong and technical".
The match was far less dramatic than the day's earlier games, but the outcome still had consequences that could affect both teams as they look to continue their World Cup runs into the knockout round.
Although Belgium gets what appears to be an easier match against Japan in the round of 16, it could get trickier with a victory in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
"Let's start with the most glaringly obvious: there is no doubt which set of fans will win the battle of noise when England meet the South Americans".
Lukaku lies joint second alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the World Cup Golden Boot, one shy of England captain Harry Kane, who has five. The first two will always be regarded as gimmies and we got what we should have out of them but we could have made a statement by coming away with nine points.
"We are not looking at paths", Martinez said.
It promises to be a fascinating encounter England and Belgium battle it out for top spot in Group G. Watch the Live & Exclusive stream of the game on MAX HD3 & beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
English World Cup self-pity often centers on the national team's semi-final defeat by Germany on penalties at Italia '90 but Belgians have their own painful memories of 28 years ago at the hands of England and now they want payback.
The two teams have had a relatively stress-free progression from Group G and been able to rotate their squad, but their potential rivals have not.
"I think that was the most important thing at the right stage for me and now I'm doing this so I'm very pleased with that and hope to continue".
"When you are leader and a manager you need to make decisions that are right for your group and sometimes those decisions will be criticised and I understand that", he said.
"And, yeah, maybe we could have pushed a bit more by putting other players into the game tonight, but we still created chances, we had one absolutely fantastic chance to tie the game".
Yes, Rose made a mistake for the goal but Young has made a few positional errors over the first couple of games against poorer teams. "We saw how close Argentina came (to being eliminated)".