There are a number of key battles that may well decide the game; how John Stones copes with the physicality of Mario Mandzukic will be one, as will how Jordan Henderson can cope playing against Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
In keeping with his even-handed and calm style, Southgate said his team were neither complacent nor too pumped up for Wednesday's clash at the Luzhniki Stadium, England's first World Cup semi-final since 1990.
Southgate said he was convinced that win or lose on Wednesday, his team have a bright future after decades of English under-achievement on the worldwide stage.
It will be hard for England to stop Croatia star Luka Modric, says former Three Lions global Jermaine Jenas, who also believes the midfielder is the world's best in his position.
It is the first time since 1998 that Croatia have reached this stage.
"It is a success that we will remember for generations".
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she had exchanged football shirts with Plenkovic when they met on Tuesday. "I know I can play better than that".
While they haven't played with the attacking potential they're capable of, France have been measured and professional throughout this World Cup.
In the last few seasons he's always scored more than 25 goals and he's one of the best strikers in the world.
The crunch-match to decide who will face France in the final takes place tonight at 7pm.
France coach Didier Deschamps said he was delighted to have the chance to bury the pain of the Euro 2016 final, which his side lost on home soil to Portugal.
England hasn't played in the semifinals of a major tournament since Southgate's penalty kick at Wembley was saved by Andreas Koepke 22 years ago, and Andrea Moeller put the next kick over David Seaman and under the crossbar.
In delirious scenes in Paris, fans let off fire crackers and released smoke flares - and predicted they would win a second World Cup.
Maybe that's why this squad seems unburdened by the weight of history or perhaps it was the complete lack of expectation of them going into the tournament - how else can you explain an England team that have come through a penalty shoot-out scare? "We'll repeat that this Sunday", said one supporter, Sebastien.