England’s World Cup final defeat viewed from the fan parks
Spain hero Jenni Hermoso has released a new statement downplaying the incident that sparked outrage on social media, after she was kissed on the lips by Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales during their Women’s World Cup celebrations. The Barcelona forward had previously admitted that she “didn’t enjoy” the uncomfortable moment, as she was preparing to collect her medal and since explained her relationship with the Spanish chief.
Despite Spain’s famous victory, Hermoso had a difficult time against the Lionesses as she had a penalty saved by Mary Earps to put the game out of reach, forcing a nervy end to the match. However, they were able to hold on and claim the country’s first-ever Women’s World Cup victory.
It was after the match, however, amid the jubilant scenes that headlines were made as viewers around the world were shocked to see Rubiales kiss Hermoso as she was going to collect her medal and lift the trophy. The FA chief was clearly delighted as he embraced the team, but went one step further with the Barcelona star as he grabbed her head and kissed Hermoso before she swiftly moved along the line.
The moment sparked huge outrage with Rubiales criticised heavily both in Spain and abroad. Hermoso was clearly surprised with the interaction, as when asked about the exchange on Spanish TV, Hermoso replied: “Eh… yeah, I did not enjoy that.”
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She has however since released a statement insisting that she has a “great relationship” with Rubiales and downplayed the moment. “It was a completely spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup,” Hermoso told the Royal Spanish Football Federation.
“The president and I have a great relationship; his behaviour towards all of us has been exemplary, and it was a natural expression of affection and gratitude. There’s no need to overanalyse a gesture of friendship and gratitude; we’ve won a World Cup, and we won’t stray from what’s important.”
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Rubiales has since been thanked by Spain boss Jorge Vilda, who had been under immense scrutiny after falling out with several players for his methods and working conditions. After the victory, he said: “I’m proud of my players, not just those who have played in this World Cup, but also those in qualification… I’m thankful to Rubiales, who was like one more of the group.”
Rubiales stuck by Vilda despite 15 players writing a letter to the Spanish FA earlier this year saying that they would not play under the head coach, many of whom missed the tournament as a result.
Sunday’s result was further overshadowed by the news that Olga Carmona, who scored the only goal of the final, had been told of the death of her father shortly after full-time.
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