"We were like lions out there tonight and we will be the same in the final". They will aim to better the third-place finish achieved by the star-studded squad spearheaded by the legendary Davor Suker at the 1998 edition in France.
It is the first time in 28 years that they made the last four with the previous visit coming during the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
For the first 45 minutes, Croatia looked like an ageing side that had come through two lots of extra-time and penalties just to get to the semi-finals.
And while disappointment was the overriding emotion when Mario Mandzukic netted what proved the victor, fans were quick to express their pride in the Young Lions after an encouraging tournament. I have to dream.
Although Croatia are the most hard opponent England will have faced in the tournament, Southgate's words suggest he will continue with his attacking formation and personnel. Dejan Lovren and Danijel Subasic are both injury doubts but are expected to recover in time to feature.
There had been talk earlier on in the tournament that a team could restart if all of the opposition's players had left the pitch.
Rebic, along with Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic may feature ahead of the midfield duo of Modric and Rakitic. Croatia within inches of taking the lead. They should have turned up, it's the semi-final of a World Cup.
Eric Amsalem, a 48-year-old Croatian fan with his face painted in the colours of the national flag said: "It's a small country".
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As the first half progressed, and with England dominant, the opportunity was there to put the game away.
"The biggest pressure came against Denmark in the round of 16 (which also went to extra-time and a penalty shootout)".
But while Croatia's superior quality and command of the ball told in the Luzhniki Stadium, their remarkable levels of energy were also key, with this game the third time they have been forced to negotiate extra time in Russian Federation.
Keane was also critical of England skipper Harry Kane, as he suggested the Spurs striker looked off the pace as he laboured through most of the second half and extra time. The couple spent much of the day with Ireland's officials, including President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne, but they made time to meet with some of Ireland's rugby legends as well as dozens of young Gaelic footballers at Croke Park in Dublin.
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. And Gary Southgate, the team's manager, has been coolly running things from the sidelines with the sartorial flair of a Becks.
This was the biggest challenge of Jordan Henderson's career.
Around 7,000 England fans had managed to get hold of tickets through official channels, with 2,180 doing so via the England Supporters Travel Club tickets and the rest in Federation Internationale de Football Association sales.