But the sense that history was in the making brought them here to Moscow in force for this semi-final. When player Kieran Trippier scored an early goal against Croatia in the first quarter, in fact, crowds of England fans erupted in raucous joy.
Although the statistics registered the 58% of the ball possession in favor of Croatia against England's 42%, the first half ended with 1-0 flashing on the scoreboard.
The Croatians went into Russian Federation as the 20th-ranked team in the world, but in particular their midfield talents of Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic meant they were fancied by many as dark horses for a decent run.
Croatia now have the chance to take revenge on France after losing 2-1 in Paris when the sides met in the semi-finals back in 1998 - Dalic travelled to that World Cup as a fan.
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.
"I took Liverpool to the Champions League final and now with my national team I am in the World Cup final".
Honeymooners collide while zip-lining; husband dead, wife injured
Fanken got stuck about halfway through, and her husband soon slammed into her, the fire chief tells the Washington Post . Fanken was airlifted to the United States where she underwent surgery and was in stable condition, Guerrero said.
England found themselves with a route to the final they could only have dreamed of after finishing second to Belgium in Group G.
"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".
After watching their team stumble at major tournaments for decades, often falling to much smaller nations, England supporters had begun to think that 2018 might be a different story.
Southgate's success has seen sales of waistcoats soar in Britain since the start of the World Cup last month, according to one retailer. They won a knockout game for the first time since 2006. Belgium and England face off in the third-place match after losing in the semifinals.
During the day England fans were planning the best and least expensive way to get hold of a ticket for the final.