Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso gave victory to La Roja on Friday against Italy (1-0) for her first match since the forced kiss affair given to her by the former president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales on the evening of the world title, August 20. The 33-year-old playmaker, who came on in the 68th minute of the Nations League match between Spain and Italy, scored the winning goal in the 89th minute (1-0) in Salerno.
The N.10 of La Roja, which plays in Pachuca, in the Mexican championship, had not been called up by the new Spanish coach, Montse Tomé, for the first two Nations League matches played by Spain. Tomé explained that it was “the best way” to protect the player. A choice criticized by the latter. “Protect myself from what, or who?”, asked the former FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain player, recalled for this match against Italy and the next, on October 31 in Switzerland. “What better feeling than feeling good again, scoring the winning goal... now I can only smile!” she told Spanish public television after the match.
On August 20, in the minutes following La Roja's world title in Sydney, Luis Rubiales kissed her by surprise on the mouth. Under pressure, the former strongman of Spanish football, who always claimed that this kiss was consensual, ended up resigning. Charged with “sexual assault” by the Spanish justice system, he is prohibited from approaching within 200 meters of the player.
The scandal, which sparked international indignation, also led the Spanish Federation (RFEF) to dismiss several of its executives, including the coach of the women's national team Jorge Vilda, close to Luis Rubiales, replaced by Montse Tomé.