Yet as the stadium announcer in Volgograd played "Football's Coming Home", England's lament to their years of hurt at global level as they started their latest major tournament adventure on Monday night, a familiar story was set to unfold once again. And that is an issue which is beginning to rear its head for Southgate ahead of Sunday's clash with Panama in Nizhny-Novgorod.
It was Kane's second goal of the match and sealed three points for England. They are the only two holding midfielders he has, but are they good enough to compete against the top players like Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard? Kane's tally makes advancement to the knockout round much easier for England and the nation will undoubtedly celebrate it. You can't be as blunt as you could a few years back: when you have players who are so weak emotionally and physically, those types of penalties will happen all the time.
Sterling is proving to be a puzzle for Southgate, though.
The 24-year-old missed out to Mohamed Salah in the race for the Premier League's Golden Boot, but still netted 41 goals across all competitions for Tottenham last term.
For 45 minutes it looked just like it should have done when England face Tunisia. It's a great start for England, but the evening didn't pass quite as smoothly as it could have for Gareth Southgate's men. Maguire caught the eye for England and looks to be an important player for them for the tournament.
However, the former England worldwide believes that Kane should not be labelled as a world class player just yet.
For attacking midfielders, it is simply not enough.
And, having carried that form into the World Cup, Kane - who failed to find the net at Euro 2016 - claims to have put no limits on what he can achieve.