England's players had been criticized for their recent tournament showings after a group stage exit in the last World Cup and being knocked out of Euro 2016 by tiny Iceland. For all of the players and all of the staff, we got back to St Petersburg at 6.30am after the game, so emotionally it has been a very hard few days.
The English were already with one foot in the final after leading 1-0 and completely dominating the game, with Modric and fellow midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who have five Champions League titles between them, unable to feed their forwards.
"This may have given us extra motivation, but this is football, you have to be dignified in victory and in defeat".
"The players have to go through big matches and experiences to become a team that can win". Everyone wants to play.
"I expect we'll be back in the top ten when the rankings come out". "(Our aim is to) build with a system now through the development teams where we've had a lot of success at junior level".
"We want to keep those standards right to the end and the players did that this morning in training. It's about creating an environment to be best we can be, a professional culture".
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"We've always had targets and we've achieved them but we wanted to go the whole way". I think the football has brought the nation together, people are going to pubs and celebrating, and that's what football should be about.
"Three weeks ago, there wasn't even a connection with the England football team".
It would be a momentous achievement for captain Kane, albeit scant consolation after falling short of the World Cup final.
"They've got to know the players a little bit better and realised the perception is different from the reality".
Croatia's path to the World Cup final has not been easy with the team needing to dig deep to overcome gritty opponents in each of its three knockout games. "I don't think realistically any of us did", he said. "It's the same as if you were at a big club".
Southgate was criticized following a 2-1 extra time loss to Croatia for failing to impact the game with his substitutions.
"I must say the support we've had from home and the feeling of support is vast".