The UEFA European Championship in 2016 was an abject humiliation - England crashed out after losing 2-1 against Iceland.
And fans said they believed the key to success was the youthful team's work ethic and pride.
So we're getting a World Cup of continuity and a World Cup of change all meeting together on Sunday.
"They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality". But many more brought out the fun of being a soccer fan with a slew of hilarious memes and jokes poking fun at England.
"Trippier, Maguire, Jordan Pickford, I would put those three in a category where, before the tournament, I was thinking, 'Can they step up? It's because it's coming home".
While Croatia fans began celebrating into the night in wild scenes of fireworks and frivolity in capital city Zagreb, their England counterparts walked home leaving a deserted mess of empty bottles and unwanted flags.
Travelling fan Joe Settle, 62, and his son Andrew, from Bolton, said they couldn't miss the chance to see England in the semi final.
He said: "I think it's our year this time".
Southgate and his players will rightly receive huge praise as they have done so much to restore England's reputation and reconnect the public to their football team.
"70 minutes we battered them".
England's players, like the stars of the Italia 90 semi-final penalty shootout defeat to West Germany before them, now face a third place play-off against Belgium but it is unclear how many fans will remain behind to cheer them on to the very end.
Scott Ratcliffe and his 10-year-old son Eliott, who has broken up from school, were in the queue to pick up their Fan IDs, having arrived in Moscow on Tuesday.
He said: "I just feel so disappointed". Maybe 14 but I think 13. We are probably beyond where we thought we might be able to go.
"Tonight was a wonderful opportunity for us and you can't guarantee those opportunities come again, but we want to be a team who are hitting quarterfinals, semifinals and finals".
BS: And firing coaches, lawsuits-I was reading an article today that said a lot of Croatia didn't even like Luka Modric because he was involved in the Dynamo Zagreb trial-and they fired their coach, as you've mentioned a couple times, right at the end of qualifying. These are good kids, hopefully they will win it for us. "It's exciting times for these young fellas".