Mario Mandzukic scored in the 109th minute of the semi-final to secure a 2-1 win after extra-time in Moscow.
The game turned in overtime on two plays - one on which a defender was alert, the other on which a defender was caught napping.
It's about what is to come - the Euros, the World Cup in Qatar, along with the continued development of players who will have learned the hard way how they must live with and prosper at the highest level.
Fans stationed behind the goal roared as a young boy wearing the Peresic name ran a scintillating line from nearly halfway to score in a packed away net. "And they were wrong because this team has a lot of character and we came out and showed it".
If we as supporters are struggling to accept the result in Moscow, then the players will be far more upset. Croatia were better than us, and they deserved to go through.
"This team have taken us to a place we never thought we'd ever imagine we'd get".
What epitomised all of that for me was the way the England fans behaved this week, after arriving in their thousands before the semi-final.
"We were saying, "OK, today we will see who will be tired".
England may have looked "confident" during their World Cup campaign but Croatia were the ones to "dominate" in Wednesday night's match, setting them up for a final against "formidable" France. There was no third-place match at that tournament, so Yugoslavia - made up of players from Serbian-based clubs - officially finished fourth behind the United States on goal difference.
Coming into it, I did not really know what to expect in Russian Federation and like everyone else I was a bit anxious about what might happen.
Vicky Pattison said: "England, you should be proud of yourselves".
"I was lying in bed finding the strength to play and it was worth it. They should be more humble and respect their opponents more".
"I can be very happy with my life", Dalic said, adding that "without strong faith and that motivation, it would be very hard to achieve it".
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