Jose Pekerman's side topped Group H by two points, having defeated Senegal and Poland, though they also lost to runners-up Japan.
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 last won a match in the last 16 of the finals when they completed a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in 2006 before losing on penalties to Portugal after a 0-0 draw.
'I felt the need to sit with him, but he was brilliant, ' Southgate said.
"England will play Colombia and if you start thinking any further than that, I think you are risking a lot", warned Belgium manager Roberto Martinez. England is a young team, has a lot of harmony and you can tell they have a lot of faith in themselves...
Now, if they find a way past Colombia, they will fancy their chances of reaching the semi-finals. Merse has written a column for the Sky Sports website in which he writes off Colombia as "poor", and says that failure now is anything other than a semi-final.
Introducing tournament topscorer Kane even as a substitute he claimed would have been "ridiculous" for fear the Tottenham striker could pick up an injury. "Whoever we play are capable of, on a one-off game, beating us". He has spoken openly of his frustration as a player at not playing a single minute at the 2002 World Cup.
"It's exciting", Southgate said of the clash.
"This was a game that we wanted to win, but the knockout game is the biggest game for a decade for us so we had to make sure our key players were preserved", said Southgate. 'He totally understood, 100 per cent, that it was team first.
The team's video analysts have already put together detailed dossiers and footage of Colombia to ensure players are as best prepared as possible.