After defeating Sweden in a 2-0 show of force last weekend, the Three Lions qualified for their first semi-final since 1990, but winning against Croatia tonight would've marked the end of an even longer dry run.
Southgate was reluctant to draw any positives from England's World Cup experience so soon after the crushing loss to Croatia, but said there obviously were many high points and pointed to a bright future for his young, talented squad after their success in Russian Federation.
Laura Grimes, of Cambridge University Press, said: "The huge amount of language data we've collected and analysed gives us fascinating insight into the mood surrounding the World Cup". And I think we need to take full credit for that because we've changed that.
"When you get to this stage of the competition, the margins are fine. they've taken two of their (chances) and we weren't able to respond".
"The dressing room is a very hard place at the moment. Many of these players have come of age and I couldn't be prouder of them".
Although football did not come home in the shape of the World Cup trophy after all, Gareth Southgate's team won widespread praise for their exploits on the field and their charm offensive off the pitch.
"We were planning to leave, but now we have to stay until Monday", said Sinisa Pavlek, a Croatian living in Germany as he emerged from the stadium with a broad smile on his face.
"I'd be amazed if he doesn't come out in the next few days or week and something emerges about his fitness". There are a lot of things that have been hugely positive for us.
England will play their final match of the tournament on Saturday afternoon at 3PM on ITV.
"I'd need to look back again at it".
These are among the most popular words used to describe teams in this summer's tournament, according to research by Cambridge University Press. "I can't ask more of him as a captain or as a man over the last three weeks".