Quite so. Even tonight's match against Belgium is unlikely to be the test that Southgate would probably like.
"But to be involved in a World Cup is something you work all your life to get to".
In the other remaining first-round games on Thursday, Japan, Senegal and Colombia are all chasing the two qualification spots in Group H, with Poland out of the picture.
We asked you to pick your XI to face Roberto Martinez's men (19:00 BST) and the answer was yes, you do make changes - three of them from the resounding 6-1 win over Panama.
"We've got loads of friends who were umming and ahhing whether to come", he said.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has made it clear he doesn't want to win and could make up to 10 changes. That would mean we top the group. We just have a hunch.More news: Hat trick in Panama rout puts England in last 16
But on a day when holders Germany crashed out of the tournament with a shock 2-0 loss to South Korea, Southgate said his side were focused on Belgium alone.
England fan Will Tomlinson, 34, who has travelled to Russian Federation, said he hoped for an English influx as the team progressed through the tournament. They've been ahead for about a minute and a half, in total, of their three matches and it's unusual to see them struggle as much as they have. "There are players who have been in very demanding games so it´s very important for us to protect and give every player the best opportunity to be in the best condition in the knockout games".
In the form of captain Harry Kane, England have Russia's top goalscorer so far with five, and the Tottenham talisman is likely to start against Belgium.
What happens if England win or lose?
The debate over whether England should rest players and settle for group runners up or to send a full-strength side out to win and keep the momentum building has been raging on as we approach kick off.
"They have a brilliant opportunity first and foremost to play in a World Cup, they want to show what they can do".
"His scoring record of goals per game is outstanding", said Southgate, who has yet to confirm the selection to his players but is well aware of Kane's desire to finish as the top scorer in Russian Federation. Tunisia and Panama are eliminated.