"The improvement and the hunger in the players is very clear for everyone to see".
Southgate is however, well aware of the midfield Croatia possess.
However, shortly after taking over the England team, Southgate made the players sit down and watch a replay of that horror show.
He said: "Well, I think I've said this before, but I was not a renowned fashion icon throughout my playing career, so it's rather odd to feel that way now".
In spite of his profligacy in front of the opposition goal, Southgate maintained that Raheem Sterling is an essential ingredient to the side as with his "speed he stretches the opposition".
"Southgate wants his players and his team to be themselves and to be together".
"For us as a team, yes, it's another chance to create a small piece of history".
Southgate, who was surprised by the vest craze, said he never considered himself a "fashion icon" but loved the enthusiasm from supporters across the UK.
"They're getting blamed for what my generation and generations that followed did".
It is uncharted territory for Gareth Southgate and his squad, 17 of whom were not even born when Bobby Robson's side took on West Germany in Turin on 4 July, 1990.
And so, at that stage of the World Cup where every day without a match feels inexorably pointless - we awake with a spring in our step, and hope in our heart, because football, dear reader, is back once more. "It's been an enjoyable journey, and we want to keep it going". "We're not working much now so you can imagine what it will be like if we win".
"The more of these tests we can come through, the better, not just for now, but moving forward".
"If you look at all of our attacking patterns and the way that our front four have combined and played, he's been instrumental in that, so I think he's a player that's really appreciated by the team".