It all started so well for Gareth Southgate's heroes, with Kieran Trippier curling a free-kick into the top corner inside five minutes. But Croatia hit back through Ivan Perisic to force extra time, where Mario Mandzukic then finished past Jordan Pickford to confirm that football, contrary to popular belief, isn't coming home just yet.
Watching the game like everyone else was former Three Lions boss Sam Allardyce, who would have been in charge of England in Russia had he not resigned in September 2016 following an undercover Daily Telegraph investigation.
Big Sam's take on the heartbreaking defeat was that it might have been different had Tottenham striker Harry Kane not fluffed his lines with a golden chance in the first half.
He said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show, as quoted by talkSPORT: "What went against us was that the quality of our own finishing in open play - it let us down.
"Had we gone in 2-0 up, I don’t think there was any chance Croatia would have recovered from that. Particularly the double miss from Harry - as a striker, you’re employed not to miss those chances when they come along.
"I don’t want to be unkind to Harry Kane, because he’s an absolutely brilliant striker, but Raheem Sterling was in a much better position and that little ball across the box and a little tap in would have made it more certain."
Allardyce may have a point that Kane should have either squared it to Sterling or converted at the second time of asking, but as a striker he was always going to take the chance on himself, and the angle was fairly tight.
Allardyce's remarks have not gone down well with the Spurs faithful, and nor anyone for that matter. The consensus is that England probably went further in the tournament under Southgate than they ever would have under Allardyce, and that they simply lost to the better team in Croatia.
Don’t blame anyone would be more ideal.— Adam Bordo (@adam_bordo) 12 July 2018
Bullshit it it wasn’t for kane we wouldn’t have made it out of the group.— James Barlow (@Jimmyb2018) 12 July 2018
Being an Everton fan if big Sam had been the manager of @England we would not have got out the group stages !!!— Mark Kilbride (@maccakilbride1) 12 July 2018
Knows one thing and that’s defend and use long ball ! Boring boring football ⚽️!
Well done @GarethSouthgate
Sam is so bitter it’s embarrassing. He’s talking out of his hat.— Paul Woodcock (@quizmasterpw75) 12 July 2018
Big Sam still salty I see!— Man-on (@Manon89227854) 12 July 2018
Why keep going to big sam ..people miss chances ,that’s football ,ronaldos poor at free kicks messis not much better at pens..no player is perfect— shaun lewis (@shaunlewis17) 12 July 2018
Yeah, blame the probable golden boot winner. He probably looked up, noticed only sterling in the box and realised he had a better chance to score than the guy who runs like doctor evil— leighnic74 (@ljnicholls74) 12 July 2018