Sitting alongside was Manchester City midfielder David Silva, a mainstay of Spain's sweet-passing sides for over a decade, but now the subject of mounting criticism, so much so that dropping him may be one of Hierro's first big calls as coach.
Aspas almost picked out Carvajal with a cut-back seconds into the start of extra time, which saw Aleksandr Erokhin come on as Russia's fourth sub - the first time the rule has been applied at the World Cup.
Schmichel and his counterpart Danijel Subasic stole the show as the match moved to penalties. "At the individual level, a wonderful stage ends", the hero of Spain's only World Cup championship in 2010 told reporters at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, reports Efe.
"I was lucky and that's it, this is a success for the whole Russian team, we should not highlight anyone". "The players did their best, as always".
"I haven't regretted that decision or any other because they are decisions made with responsibility, conviction and values, and it was not a sporting decision", the federation president said. If he does make a change, will he go with the experience of a veteran or someone with fresh ideas?
Among the candidates rumored for the position was former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
Sunday's defeat likely spells the end of Andres Iniesta's national-team career.
Akinfeev's foot kept Russia's party going Sunday night, ended the worldwide career of one of Spain's biggest stars and sealed the biggest upset of the tournament and one of the greatest in World Cup history.
1 dead, 9 injured after boat explodes in the Bahamas
One American tourist was killed in the explosion, while two others are said to be in critical condition at a Bahamian hospital. The others victims were being treated at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau.
So a stalemate ensued - until after a rare attack Russian Federation found their way back level via Artem Dzyuba's 41st-minute penalty after Gerard Pique's handball from a corner.
"It's great. Unbelievable. We are champions".
Dzyuba calmly sent De Gea the wrong with his penalty to join Cheryshev on a team-leading three goals.
The match ended with the Sport Express daily running just one word across its front page: "HURAAAAAAAY!" He had already made a mistake in one of the team's warm-up matches before the tournament.
Croatia's case as dark horses to win the World Cup is mostly down to the creativity of their two midfield masters, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
As for his reserved celebrations which were limited to a brief raising of the hands on the final whistle, Cherchesov said: "This is the beginning and I have to save my emotions for the later".
Just as it remained unclear whether he would actually remain in charge, so it's still all up in the air for Spain a day after its latest World Cup debacle.