Jenni Hermoso returns to Spain squad for first time since World Cup kiss

Wed, Oct 18, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Jenni Hermoso returns to Spain squad for first time since World Cup kiss

MADRID (AP) - The Women's World Cup-winning player kissed on the lips by the former president of the Spanish soccer federation was called up again by the national team on Wednesday.

Jenni Hermoso was included in coach Montse Tome's squad for this month's Nations League games against Italy and Switzerland.

Hermoso was omitted from the first squad after the World Cup to protect her amid the controversy ignited by Luis Rubiales' kiss at the awards ceremony, after Spain had lifted the trophy in Australia in August.

"At the time we believed that was the best option for her and for us," Tome said. "Now things have improved. She has played more often. It's the right moment."

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Hermoso said the kiss was without her consent and Spanish state prosecutors later accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion. They alleged that Rubiales tried to convince Hermoso and her relatives to publicly downplay the kiss.

Hermoso and other Spain players have testified as witnesses in the probe into Rubiales' actions.

Rubiales eventually resigned and the players ended their boycott of the national team after being given guarantees of change within the federation following the intervention of government officials.

Tome named the World Cup-winning players in her first squad, even though they had asked not to play until their demands for change were accepted. Some federation officials have since been fired and a joint committee involving players has been created.

The 33-year-old Hermoso, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, criticized the federation for calling up the World Cup-winning players to the first squad against their wishes. Not responding to a call-up can expose players to a fine or ban.

Patri Guijarro and Mapi Leon, who decided to leave the squad after being called up the last time, were not in Tome's list on Wednesday.

Spain won 3-2 at Sweden and 5-0 against Switzerland in its first two matches after the World Cup.

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