Given Croatia had extra time and penalties to recover from, England should come into the game fresher and they also have the edge in previous meetings, winning four of the seven encounters, including a 5-1 victory in their most recent match - a World Cup qualifier in 2009. The Sun printed an image of a dejected Southgate with his teammates, along with the caption, "They're coming home..."
Croatia complicating things by going into extra-time their last three games. But if anything, the grueling lead-up to the clash against England solidified Croatia's mental toughness, which served the Croats well on Wednesday.
The Three Lions managed their 1-0 lead for more than an hour of playing time. Can Croatia make a comeback in the 2nd half? Defender Sime Vrsaljko lofted a pass toward England's goal.
However, Croatia gained momentum in the second-half and clawed their way back into the encounter courtesy of a Ivan Perisic strike. Croatian fans were elated; English fans fumed, claiming the goal should've been disallowed because of a high kick.
As the rest of the Croatian squad joined the towering Mandzukic on the sidelines, the entire mass of celebrating players tumbled over the advertising boards into a dog pile, with the unfortunate press photographers on the bottom.
The 1-1 score held as the match went into extra time.More news: Iran Warns Trump's Oil Ban Is 'Self Harm'
England held on despite losing their nerve, but Croatia broke them down once against in injury time when Mario Mandzukic grabbed the victor.
Even before his goal, Mandzukic had spent some minutes on the turf after a collision with England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and an agonising attack of cramp left him once again prone on the pitch in the wake of his decisive strike.
Though England will return to the country without the World Cup trophy, Kane could bring home an individual award as the tournament's top scorer.
Kieran Trippier's 5th-minute free-kick goal was the first direct free-kick scored in the knock-out stage during the 2018 world cup.
Neither team came to Russian Federation being heralded as favourites but they have produced performances throughout the competition which have shown they were underestimated by the pundits.
"We made it to the finals, no one believed in us, every pundit out there was thinking England but we showed the world", another jubilant fan said.