"Hopefully they'll just get their heads down, work hard and get the win for us".
"I don't think the players are as good as they have been in the past, but it nearly doesn't matter", he added.
"Our country has been through some hard moments recently in terms of its unity and I think sport has the power to do that and football in particular has the power to do that".
Harry Kane was not even born when England last reached the World Cup semifinals 28 years ago, but the Tottenham striker - who has met 1966 final hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst - fully appreciates the weight of history he and his teammates are making in Russian Federation.
Southgate and his players trained at their base in Repino on Tuesday morning before heading for Moscow and the Luzhniki Stadium where their fate will be decided on Wednesday evening. We're pleased with the intelligence and style of our play. Anyway, we won and the staff made this big thing about my lucky socks, saying I had to wear them next game.
"No-one wants to go home". We still needed the win but I thought, "No, it's ridiculous".
He said: "Whenever you are involved in a tournament like this, you do think about the people who have helped you along the way, and every coach I worked with, teacher, players that I've played with.
It will be just the third time France will be appearing in a World Cup final.
Striker set to sit out England v Belgium clash
They face the risky Colombia and will meet the victor of Sweden against Switzerland in the last eight if they come through. Poland has been eliminated already, so Colombia , Japan and Senegal will fill out the top spots in the group.
Midfielder Jordan Henderson added: 'It's a special feeling to know people back home and here are enjoying the experience as much as we are.
Apple Music has more subscribers than Spotify in the US
Apple Music has surpassed Spotify in total number of paid US subscribers, according to a report from Digital Music News . Apple Music now has more than 45 million subscribers worldwide, with an additional 5-10 million free trial users.
Ronaldo can't beat Uruguay on his own, warns Portugal coach
Only one can advance, and Portugal needs to play better than it did in tying Spain and Iran. "That is an additional factor. Jose Gimenez could return for Uruguay after he missed the final group game against Russian Federation with a back injury.
But there was one bright spot from Belgium defeat
Belgium's 1-0 win sent it into the side of the bracket containing four World Cup winners and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. Former England defender Martin Keown told BBC Sport: "I'd have him in the team because of the balance he has".
28,000 Syrian refugees returning home after peace deal
A regime air strike on the rebel-held half of the provincial capital of Daraa also killed one civilian, the Observatory said. The deal will take place in phases across Deraa, but there is no timeline yet, a rebel official said.