What happened this morning?
They could not have got off to a better start, with Kieran Trippier curling a brilliant free kick into the top corner after just five minutes.
Trippier's free-kick was not only his maiden England goal but was his first goal of any kind since he scored for Tottenham against Watford on February 6, 2016 - 886 days ago.
Trippier's father is a passionate football fan, famously erecting a flagpole to fly the England flag in his front yard and ignoring local council pleas to take it down. "We probably needed that second goal [in the first half]".
Croatia midfielder Ivan Perišić scored a goal in the 68th minute - a high kick that Jordan Pickford was unable to block - and the momentum shifted completely.
Croatia had the better of the chances in the remainder of regulation, but England appeared to recover well in the first half of extra time and would have taken the lead in the 98th minute but for Vrsaljko clearing a header by John Stones off the line.
"It's a special feeling to know that people back home and out here in Russian Federation are enjoying the experience just as much as we are", the midfielder said on the eve of the game.
Pickford was similarly heroic at the other end, denying Mandzukic at point-blank range after the striker met Perisic's cross.
"We've played our hearts out throughout the tournament".
Shark attacks California Instagram model in Bahamas
Zarutskie encountered multiple complications and doctors believe there may still be "pieces of the tooth" lodged in her arm. An aspiring model and college student found out the hard way that swimming with sharks is not a good career move.
"We've got to keep getting over those hurdles and I know we talked about the success of the younger teams but this is a much harder, much bigger level for the players and the belief is building as things are happening".
"England are one of the favourites to win the World Cup and you have to respect that", he said.
It was a wonder the Juventus forward did not break a limb as Pickford crunched into him.
"It's tough, we're gutted", he said. "England have been deadly from set-plays and I think this could be their route to the final". England had also won on penalties against Colombia in the second round.
And in its first semifinal appearance in 28 years, with a place in the World Cup final seemingly within reach, England's serene progress through this tournament finally came up against an obstacle it couldn't simply brush aside.
They said what? Gary Lineker, former England striker, now pundit: "Dig deep, breathe, start again".
"We thought we were just good enough, we thought we could have done that. It's supposed to be fun, isn't it?" A privilege to have covered their run at the World Cup.
What's next? England will meet Belgium in the playoff for third and fourth in St. Petersburg on Sunday morning at 2am (NZT).
"All the celebrations and the songs they're singing back home, it inspires us as players to be able to sort of bring the nation together and put smiles on people's faces".