Croatia will take on France in the final on Sunday. As the game entered extra-time, Jordan Pickford thought that he was going to be the hero after bravely saving at the feet of Mario Mandzukic - the Everton "keeper made his feelings known to the Juventus striker during that confrontation - but 'Super Mario" had the last laugh when he fired home the victor to send Croatia wild.
"The Fiery Ones are in the final, the nation is in a trance - one more step to the title!" said the Jutarnji List, using the team's nickname.
Kevin Trippier curled in a free kick for England in the fifth minute. Croatia will be coming off its third straight extra-time match.
'I'm sorry... because I love England but for those who sent me stupid messages and insults till now... you deserve this answer now!' Yet what Sterling has lacked at this World Cup in goals, he has made up for with his sheer work-rate and intelligent movement in attacking areas of the pitch.
The script that said Croatia was exhausted and England would take advantage, seemed to play out early.
Ivan Perisic equalised for Croatia after 70 minutes to force extra-time, and a goal from Mario Mandzukic at 109 minutes ended the Three Lions' hopes.
"The players and the squad, everybody involved in the World Cup, have a reason to come back home with pride after giving everything and making the country proud". "It's just unbelievable to get back in the game in this way".
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About 10 minutes before Mandzukic scored, defender Sime Vrsaljko headed a shot on target off the goal line to keep the score tied.
Perisic should have added another three minutes later when ragged defending presented him with a great shooting chance but he cannoned the ball against a post.
"We're gutted", said Harry Kane, still on course to finish as the tournament's top goalscorer with six strikes in Russian Federation.
But it was Croatia who struck the killer blow when Perisic won a header on the edge of the box, England lost concentration and the ball dropped for Mandzukic, whose firm low finish beat Jordan Pickford.
"We were good. We controlled the game, but there's always tension with us, we always concede this early goal and have shocks", Vrsaljko said.
But Southgate is convinced England can become even stronger if they take a leaf out of the book of Germany.
"Maybe the English team should have respected us more, especially when you consider where our players play their football, but this is football and sport". But we've fallen just a bit short.