While many outsiders view that unexpected Croatian run to the last four as a great success, inside the country many share the view of the team's then manager Miroslav Blazevic that it was a missed opportunity.
Tense moments followed for the 12th man as Croatia tried to pile the pressure on and fans had their hearts in their mouths when the score was only kept level by some desperate England defending.
"They'll be the best team we've played in terms of what they're capable of doing with the ball, and what their individuals are capable of, definitely", he said (via Sky Sports).
"Anyone want a World Cup Final ticket", he asked in another post.
Southgate said playing regularly in big matches was a key stage of development for his players and that the way they dropped away in the second half was perhaps a result of their inexperience.
"Those emotions are what drive us, that is our petrol and how we have come back to a semi-final after 20 years".
"I think they have a good mentality in the team, team spirit which is very important for a tournament".
"I thought that we absolutely played them out the game in the first half".
"England we're proud of you, that's all I've got to say".
England won their opening game at a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup. "I will get more attention and it won't be easy to go out for meals if I am in certain places but it won't change my view on the world or the things I attempt to do".
Josh Quinn, 22, from Bristol, said: "It was a disappointing performance from England".
The winners of Wednesday's game will face France in the final at 1500 GMT on Sunday.
Croatia have yet to lose at this summer's World Cup, having blitzed through the group stage with wins over Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland, before edging past Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties. "We will see after this practice session", he said. "They played well and made it difficult for us.it's hard to put your finger of it".
"I think that we played phenomenal today, and after we conceded the goal we completely outplayed England even though they were saying that we are exhausted, that they are better".