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.
Across England, fans erupted with joy, and in doing so, sent gallons upon gallons (err, litres upon litres) of beer into the air in celebration.
But if England do reach the final then they will have done so without beating any of the world's top 13 teams, a feat only previously achieved in recent history by this year's confirmed finalists France in 1998.
Some threw drinks to the ground and stormed out of Ashton Gate Stadium, though some struck a more conciliatory tone. "It's good to feel like you're in England", he said. But towards the end of the first half we were bad, second half we were terrible.
"They have done so well". We're tired but there can be no excuses: we've got to the semi-final, we're here to enjoy ourselves and give our all, we do not want to say we're worn out or exhausted.
Deschamps also recalled France's defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris two years ago, and revealed it's still weighing on the team.
"If I was in charge of the FA there would be no doubt that I would keep Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland in their jobs and give them the chance to take the team to the next Euros and the next World Cup".
"The game went a lot better after the first half", said Richard Majic, another spectator at the garage.
"That speaks volumes in itself". I mean, obviously, Luka Modric is a generational player and so you've got some talent up there alongside him.
Pockets within the Hyde Park crowd continued to clap and chant but the disappointment was obvious with some people with hands on their heads, tears in their eyes and too upset to talk.
France opened the cup at +650, while Croatia was +3300.
"We were anxious", Katich said.
"It's been fantastic until now".
"I'm trying to get the balance right", Southgate said, "of recognizing that tonight was a wonderful opportunity for us and you can't guarantee that those opportunities will ever come again".
"We're going to the final, we're going to the final", scores chanted in one central Paris bar before breaking out into an impromptu rendition of the La Marseillaise national anthem.
Nick Branch, 35, joked: "I'm a West Ham fan so I'm used to disappointment".
BRIAN STRAUS: You've brought this up a couple times and obviously I'm sure we'll delve into it in the next few days but this [Croatia] team, this program, this federation is total chaos.