"At the moment we all feel the pain of defeat", manager Gareth Southgate said. Did we expect to be in this position?
The civic buildings of Leeds Town Hall and Leeds Civic Hall will also be lit up red and white on both Tuesday and Wednesday night in order to cheer on England, alongside proudly flying a St George's flag.
The Croatia centre-back took a sly dig at Harry Kane, while the furore was escalating earlier this year as the Tottenham star claimed a dubious goal which took him closer to Liverpool star Mohamed Salah's tally in the Premier League golden boot race.
"I've got a amusing feeling that the momentum is so good, and, you know, especially now that we're all going to turn up with special Gareth waistcoats, and that can only help can't it", said fan Lee Walkup, 50. "Now I want to go and see what's going on in Russian Federation", said one fan, Michael Roberts, 27, as he waited for his flight. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is already refusing to use his team's weariness as an excuse, but just as it was against England, the condition of the players is bound to be a central question in the biggest game Croatia has ever played.
What a journey it has been.
While Belgium beat favourites Brazil only to be unseated by France in the semi-final, England's opponents were Colombia, Sweden and Croatia - not easy but unquestionably more manageable.
As the Tottenham full-back remarked only last week when he was compared to David Beckham, "not bad for a lad from Bury".
But Croatia came alive in the second half, first scoring on a header in the 68th minute by Ivan Perisic to level the match and take the game to extra time. Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has continued the good form he showed towards the end of last season too. We know there is more to come from this England team'.
Mario Mandzukic completed the turnaround around with the victor on 109 minutes to send his country through to Sunday's final against France.
It is defined by what he achieved in this insane, bone-dry summer of 2018, and by what he has suddenly made seem possible.
For Southgate and his team it continues way beyond that.
But when Mario Mandzukic caught Stones sleeping with just over 10 minutes to play, burying a left-footed shot under Pickford, England's World Cup dream was over.
"It would have been so unbelievable to win the cup".
The clock is already counting down, but it does so now with a far greater sense of objective and with Southgate and his players moving forward as one.