"We deserved to be in that final after such an wonderful effort", Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic said.
Southgate, part of the England team beaten in the semi-finals of Euro 96 when he missed the decisive penalty against Germany, reflected with pride and optimism on Russian Federation 2018.
Grant Davidson said they had "brought the country together" during the run to the semi-finals, the first time England had reached the last four since losing to West Germany in 1990. "I feel there'll be an affinity and something we can build on".
World Cup finals are often notoriously tight affairs but you'd have to give France the edge in every department here, with the possible exception of Croatia's magnificent midfield.
Wednesday saw the ninth time a World Cup semifinal needed 30 more minutes to be decided, with 5 of them needing penalties to find a victor.
However, Southgate has a contract until 2020, which could be extended until beyond the 2022 World Cup, giving England stability.
"There'll be a new benchmark and level of expectation", said Southgate, as per the BBC. Rebic took advantage of a Willy Caballero error to volley home the opener before Modric scored his second of the tournament with a brilliant effort 10 minutes from time. For Belgium this is probably a missed opportunity, an unwanted reminder that they weren't good enough as a team to reach the final their talented players were perfectly capable of being in.
On Sunday, Croatia will face France in the World Cup final while England which will play with Belgium to determine the third place on Saturday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party tweeted a photo of herself holding a model of the World Cup trophy, stating, "It's home already (well, we can dream!)", before congratulating England on their 2-0 quarter-final win against Sweden.
"There's a lot of motivation for us".
Most Rev Justin Welby praised Gareth Southgate's men for their "incredible" participation in the tournament, after the side lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semi-final stage.