But the team's performance over the past month - with a 6-1 trouncing of Panama, their first ever World Cup penalties win and first World Cup semi-final since 1990 - has seen them reconnect with a disillusioned fan base.
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. "We'll look at the goals and chances but I don't think we could have given more over these six or seven weeks". Did we feel we would be in this position?
"I can't go back for the final though, I've used up all my credits with my wife". But when you've got to this point and played as well as we have. you want to take these opportunities in life.
While we didn't see Southgate plop down on the field to mourn the loss like some of his players did, photographers did capture an extremely touching post-game moment he shared with his wife Alison in the stands.
"It's too easy to sometimes move on too quickly".
Nick Ferrari insists he's not a traitor, despite hugging a Croatian following England's World Cup defeat last night.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the final set to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
"There's no weakness in a team that is in the final". "We've proved to ourselves and our country that is possible". Now we have a new benchmark, a new level of expectation.
'I am so proud to work for this team and this manager'. "The reaction from the fans at the end shows you everything they've given", He told ITV. "We are about mental strength and solidarity, working for each other". It will be a really hard task to assess everybody over the next 24 hours and get them mentally back to where we want them to be for a game like that, but that will be the challenge.