Igor Akinfeev was the host nation’s hero after saving spot-kicks from Koke and Iago Aspas as 2010 champions Spain were defeated 4-3 on penalties, extra time unable to separate the teams after the 90 minutes had ended with the score 1-1.
Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest scorer of an own goal in World Cup history when the 38-year-old gave Spain an early lead at the Luzhniki Stadium.
But Russia drew level in the 41st minute, Artem Dzyuba smashing home a penalty after his header was blocked by Gerard Pique’s arm in the box.
Cheryshev – who was introduced in the 61st minute after surprisingly starting on the bench – was in no mood to apologise for Russia’s conservative approach, believing it was the right thing to do against such an attack-minded team.
“You cannot play face to face with Spain,” he told reporters.
“Despite the goal we have not broken down, we’ve made history, we’re happy.
“Everyone who plays against Spain plays like that because they have a hard time.”
It has been a tumultuous campaign for Spain, with head coach Julen Lopetegui dramatically sacked on the eve of the tournament and replaced with Fernando Hierro.
Cheryshev – who plays his club football in Spain with Villarreal – does not think his side’s triumph is because of Spain’s chaotic preparations, though.
“I do not think it has anything to do with what happened to Spain before the World Cup, we have raised a very serious defensive game,” he added.