He saved Koke's effort to hand Russian Federation the advantage and then, denied Iago Aspas to awaken the subdued 78,000 crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
Russia, ranked No.57 in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association, qualified for the World Cup only because it is hosting the tournament.
"Players will not do things just because the coach says so. They are such simple emotions", Cherchesov laconically replied.
"To be a strong team is one thing, but you have to be the best on the pitch". "The most important thing for us is to set up well for the Russian Federation game".
It may have been a dry 120 minutes but there was high drama in the shootout for the 78,000 spectators at Luzhniki Stadium, with all four Russian penalty-takers keeping their cool and Muscovite Akinfeev doing well to deny Koke's effort.
"They played to get to penalties from the start".
The Russiagoalkeeper was again involved early in the second half, flying to his left to pluck a spinning Jordi Alba effort from the air.
"We were hoping for penalties", Akinfeev said.
Former Spain global Hierro was named coach on the eve of the tournament, replacing Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked after it was revealed he had accepted an offer to join Real Madrid. This is football. We had more possession, got to their area much more.
His battering ram style looks at odds with a side that still prioritises possession and slick triangular passing, hallmarks of their tiki-taka revolution that delivered two European Championships and the World Cup from 2008 to 2012. "We understand that in these moments you have to be effective".
Spain were attempting to be patient but offered little or nothing in the way of a final pass as an increasingly tight game entered the final 10 minutes of normal time, Costa making way for Aspas in their third change.
Luckily Russia was fortunate to equalize after Gerard Pique played the ball off his hand leading to spot kick, cooly taken by Russia's unsung hero of the tournament, Artem Dzyuba.
Iniesta replaced David Silva, while Costa was withdrawn for Aspas, and the two substitutes went close to winning it late in regulation time.
Koke had his penalty saved early in the shootout, giving Russian Federation the advantage, and then Igor Akinfeev saved Iago Aspas' spot kick with his foot to send his side into the last eight and send Spain home from the tournament.
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