The fact remains, though, that on Sunday they will play the biggest match of their lives against a France side bursting with youth and vigour that has had a day more rest and played the equivalent of a match fewer over the knockout rounds. We're gutted, we've worked so hard and the fans were fantastic.
Gifted a relatively soft draw by the early exit of a number of traditional World Cup superpowers, England reached the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since Euro 1996, when Southgate was part of the team.
England had only ever played there once (a 2-1 defeat to Russian Federation back in 2007), and it seems like the curse / losing streak is destined to continue for the time being.
The deciding goal came just 10 minutes before the match would've gone to penalties, seeing England miss out on the final.
From more than 20 yards away, Lingard curled the ball into the corner of the net. They played, along with Saudi Arabia, probably the second worst team in the tournament, Tunisia.
The final blow was inflected when striker Mario Mandzukic put the Croatians 2-1 ahead in the 109th minute to send them through to the final.
Had Kane added to his six goals in Russian Federation with either of his back-to-back chances in the second half against Croatia on Wednesday (NZT Thursday), when England was dominating and led 1-0, he could yet be lifting the trophy.
Not only was it his second of the match but it gave England the vital three points they needed to get off to a good start.
The Leicester player picked up Ashley Young's corner and headed it firmly into the net.
Jordan Pickford starred yet again between the sticks for England and the goalkeeper was pictured in conversation with his fiancée Megan Davison.
Signs at Heathrow's Terminal 5 showed excited customers where to "ChecK-ane" (see what they did there?!) for the 8.45am flight, before they were offered free Marks and Spencer waistcoats so that they could channel their inner Gareth Southgate.