Harry Kane emerged from England's plane back to St Petersburg armed with a signed match ball from his team-mates and the hopes of a nation.
After firing a hat-trick in the 6-1 thrashing of Panama earlier on Sunday - England's biggest ever World Cup win - the captain was in understandably buoyant mood.
With their place in the last-16 secured, all that is left for England before the knockout stage is a meeting with Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday to determine the winners of Group G.
After notching a hat-trick against Panama, Kane's team-mates left messages on the match ball
Kane leads the team photo as the squad arrived back at camp following the win over Panama
The England team were all smiles after the 6-1 win in Nizhny Novgorod secured last-16 place
Kane's match ball will carry extra significance after it was signed by fellow members of the England squad following the game.
Among the messages were one from Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli, 'No Surprise! Congrats bro', and 'Brilliant H! Keep going, Welbz' from Arsenal rival Danny Welbeck.
messages read 'Well done mate' and 'Congrats H, nice to heel you' a
reference to the fortuitous flick from Ruben Loftus-Cheek's shot that
secured his hat-trick.
The Tottenham striker will surely resist any temptation to rest against Belgium as he continues to chase the Golden Boot having overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the standings.
The 6-1 rout in Nizhny Novgorod, booked England's place in the last 16 and not only represents their biggest ever win in a major tournament but also a statement of intent to their rivals.
Harry Kane (bottom, centre) poses with his signed match ball alongside his team-mates
The England team signed the match ball for Kane after scoring a hat-trick on Sunday
His treble - two emphatic penalties and an unintentional deflection off his heel - followed a match-winning brace against Tunisia and took him to the
top of the competitions's scoring charts.
Ronaldo and Lukaku sit one behind on four and, while the latter looks
certain to sit out the Group G decider against England, Kane wants to keep
Manager Gareth Southgate may be tempted to let his prize asset take a breather in Kaliningrad, particularly as second place in the group may offer
a simpler knockout route than first, but Kane is keeping his eyes on the
'That's his decision, I guess, but obviously I want to play,' said the 24-year-
old, who has twice finished as the Premier League's leading marksman.
'I want to continue the form I'm in, but whatever decision the gaffer makes we'll get behind. There is a bigger picture.
'The most important thing is always winning games, and if my goals help
my team win then that's the perfect situation. There's a long way to go and
a lot of good players just behind me (on the list). Hopefully I can just continue and take it into Thursday's game.'
Kane leads race for the World Cup Golden Boot after scoring a hat-trick against Panama
The 24-year-old scored two penalties and got a lucky deflection against Panama on Sunday
Kane rifled two penalties into the top left-hand corner to put England out of sight on Sunday
England currently top the standings on the slenderest of margins. With the same number of points as Belgium and an identical number of goals scored and conceded, a solitary yellow card splits the teams on disciplinary grounds.
WORLD CUP LEADING SCORERS
5 - Harry Kane (England)
4 - Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
4 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
3 - Denis Cheryshev (Russia)
3 - Diego Costa (Spain)
Kane, though, is not interested in second place and would rather keep the winning feeling intact regardless of the path it leaves.
'It's important we finish top,' he said.
'We're ahead by a yellow card or something but we want to go and try to win the game and take the momentum into the knockout stages.'
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has already signalled his intention to ring the changes for the fixture, but Southgate seems ready to give the situation greater thought.
'I think that's what we've got to do over the next 36 hours or so, to decide what our priority is,' he said.
'For me, the harmony of the group is high on that list. I have complete trust in all the players.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek's shot deflected off Kane's heel to give the striker his third of the game
Kane celebrates with Raheem Sterling (L) before being substituted after scoring his third
'At this moment my thoughts are with the players who haven't played as much, but I have to consider everything before I decide upon my team.'
The only time Kane appeared remotely flustered, on or off the field, was when he was invited by an overseas broadcaster to select a song to mark his hat-trick.
He eventually settled on 'One Kiss' by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa but was back on safe ground as he reflected on the performance of both himself and his team.
'For sure it's one to be proud of. Not many players score a hat-trick in the World Cup, so I'm extremely proud of that,' he said.
'We are extremely proud of each other really. The way we played, the discipline, the hard work.
'It's not every time you go through after two games, so we're happy with that.'