If England is to advance, it will have to get through Croatia, which has its own history of World Cup futility. But while the tournament was a huge success and is fondly remembered by most, it ended in misery for Southgate when he missed the decisive penalty in the shootout against rivals Germany.
Croatia's strength of character will serve them well in the World Cup final against France, their coach and players said after they came from behind for the third straight knockout match to beat England on Wednesday. In extra time, he leaped high to block John Stones' header, keeping Croatia in the game before Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal about 10 minutes later. "Until last night, when all the pain was removed and when we finally experienced a revival of 1998", the Sportski Novosti newspaper said after that match. "So it's been great", she said, laughing.
"I'm sure we lacked in some areas, there are things we could've done better", Kane said.
Across the city, the Grove Pub and Restaurant on Stafford Street was at capacity with hopeful England fans.
Instead, the loss left some in tears.
"It had tactical understanding, it had technically good players".
England coach gets vests for life as Cup cult grows
However, shortly after taking over the England team, Southgate made the players sit down and watch a replay of that horror show. Southgate tomorrow takes his team into the biggest game the country has seen since the 1990 semi-final.
"I thought that we absolutely played them out the game in the first half".
Peter Corcoran watched on the edge of his seat, alongside his family and friends.
But British Airways, which has seen a 700 percent increase in searches for flights to Russian Federation on its website since England's penalty shootout win over Colombia last week, has now released hundreds more seats on Moscow flights by using bigger planes. England's despair will be all the harder to take after Kieran Trippier's early free-kick had them dreaming of a Moscow final on Sunday.
"There's an bad lot of people with their heads down but they should have their heads up". We're gutted, we've worked so hard and the fans were wonderful. Look at the fans there tonight, there was a lump in the throat and the hairs on my neck stood up watching the fans at the end. He wishes the team "all the luck" in Sunday's final against France.
Given they arrived in Russian Federation as rank outsiders, however, Southgate was invited to detail the positives from a campaign that appears to have repaired the strained relationship between England and its team.
France began dreaming of World Cup glory after a two-decade wait after Les Bleus on Tuesday defeated Belgium to reach the final, unleashing a wave of soccer euphoria across the country.