There's no telling how long that suspicion will last.
The Croatians had enough left in the tank to put away England, but France have been the strongest team in the tournament. But Ivan Perisic gave them an unlikely lifeline in the 68th minute and Zlatko Dalic's team dominated from there.
However, the biggest concern looking ahead to Sunday's game is bound to be fatigue, with Croatia having also required extra time and penalties to come through ties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation in the past two weeks.
Private jets and charter planes were hired, the gloriously ornate corridors and giant escalators of this city's famous Metro system were suddenly filled with familiar songs and England's white shirts.More news: Galaxy S10 will have more cameras than you might care for
The first half of Wednesday's game had Croatia lagging behind 0-1 after a goal from England's Kevin Trippier only five minutes in.
France doesn't just have the benefit of an extra day's rest.
"Heartbreak": The i Paper leads with an image of a dejected Harry Kane at the end of a semifinal that "started so well" only to end "in gut-wrenching despair" and concurs that England will "still return as heroes". We closed down (John) Stones and (Jordan) Henderson.
England's fans have taken their time to join the party here as their team conducted their campaign in Volgograd, Nizhny Novogorod, Kaliningrad, Moscow and then Samara.
In Moscow, some England fans emerged from the Luzhniki Stadium in tears and being hugged by others while jubilant Croatian supporters celebrated around them.More news: The Lightning Seeds To Perform Three Lions Before England vs Croatia Match
England's players responded to a standing ovation from those supporters but there was no disguising the pain - or Southgate's determination to remind them of what they have achieved at this World Cup in Russian Federation.
"It's going to hurt for a while", captain Kane said afterward. "There are a lot of ifs and buts, in these games it's small margins".
This time around, we could see the stars play, or we could see some more reserves to get some guys some minutes, and that makes picking here hard.
Look, this England team will be around for a while. See more of the fun in the video player above. These Lions have more technical ability and less ego than any English team in memory, and that includes the side that lost a semi on penalties to West Germany in 1990.
"And this is exactly what they did - they enjoyed their football".More news: Ivan Perisic hails 'dream' goal as Croatia reach final
"We deserved to reach the final". Their four-nation group was so weak that Southgate could afford to rest his starters after wins against Tunisia and Panama.