The loss of control in that area meant Croatia could start to supply the risky wide man Ivan Perisic, who might have had a hat-trick.
While many outsiders view that unexpected Croatian run to the last four as a great success, inside the country many share the view of the team's then manager Miroslav Blazevic that it was a missed opportunity.
He added: "Let me tell you, whether we win or lose the game, my life will not change", he said.
France can be crowned world champions for the second time in their history on Sunday and now lead the Euro 2020 betting at 4/1 (5.0).
Croatia's previous best showing at the World Cup was a semifinal final loss against France in 1998. "We lived the dream, Thank you England", the headline read.
"All these words from them we take, we were reading and we were saying 'OK, today we will see who will be exhausted.' As I said, they should be more humble, and respect opponents more. God willing, we will be world champions".
England's Kieran Trippier (not pictured) scores their first goal from a free kick past Croatia's Danijel Subasic. Shots from open play...
The Daily Mail posted an image of Southgate and Harry Kane with the caption: "Yes, it all ended in tears".
Croatia had been desperately poor but started to get a foothold in the game as the match rolled past the hour mark and Luka Modric's influence grew.
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But Ivan Perisic grabbed the equaliser in the 68th minute, getting an outstretched boot to Sime Vrsaljko's cross and guiding the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Manchester United supporters were already gutted to see which ref had been assigned to the England game - back in the 2012-13 season when United played Real Madrid he controversially sent Nani off and didn't award two penalties.
Vrsaljko cleared a John Stones header off the line midway through the first extra period.
"This is a miracle".
"We were like lions out there tonight and we will be the same in the final".
"We made it to the finals, no one believed in us, every pundit out there was thinking England but we showed the world", another jubilant fan said.
"We created some good chances when we were 1-0 up, maybe we dropped a little too deep and we didn't get enough pressure on the ball", he said.
One defeat against a second-rate Belgium XI has tarnished an otherwise ideal record for Southgate's side, while England have avoided perennial powerhouses Spain, Germany and Brazil.
"It´s impossible to say anything to make the players feel better at this moment in time", he said. But we've fallen just a bit short. We are probably beyond where we thought we might be able to go.
The thinking was that if all players had left the field of play, the opposing team would be allowed to kick-off with only the goalkeeper left to defend the goal.