One complicating factor for ABEs is that Southgate and his young team are genuinely likeable, having shed the baggage that has weighed down so many England teams in past tournaments.
"If you said to any player that we were going to be together for seven weeks, there was a lot of talk of being bored, but it's not like that at all".
Following the defeat, fans took to Twitter using #itsnotcominghome - but some remain hopeful this tournament will prove a springboard for future success.
Gareth Southgate and The FA have made a decision to keep their return from Russian Federation as a low-key affair, despite fans wanting to celebrate England's best World Cup performance in 28 years.
"'They are favourites, but we will do our best to surprise them".
With every player set to be at his disposal, it remains to be seen if Southgate sticks with the same line-up that started against both Colombia and Sweden to reach the last four.
Southgate had his critics, me being one of them, for his previous tactics and even politics, and some - again me included - thought he was lucky to be where he was.
"We haven't won anything yet so there's no point in celebrating", the attack-minded left-back said.
"The downside was it took them another eight years to win (the World Cup)".
"I have got to say the players are incredible, they are an absolute pleasure to work with", Southgate said. "As you rest & prepare for the play-off know we're with you".
England's hopes of reaching only their second ever World Cup final were dashed by Croatia, as Mario Mandzukic scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 extra-time win for Zlatko Dalic's side on Wednesday. "It's something to have got this far".
"They have the likes of Luka Modric in the team - he's a fantastic player - but they have other players around the squad that are going to be hard opponents". He said that it was only after England beat Scotland 2-0 in their second game that the stadium MC played the song with the crowd singing the chorus, "It's Coming Home".