Spain’s Hermoso Defends Rubiales Kiss At Women’s World Cup

Jenni Hermoso, a midfielder for Spain, defended Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales after he was chastised for kissing her on the lips after the team’s Women’s World Cup victory on Sunday.

Rubiales was chastised on social media for his medal ceremony celebration with Hermoso after Spain beat England 1-0 to win the trophy for the first time.

“I didn’t like it,” said Spain midfielder Hermoso on an Instagram live stream after the game, although she was laughing as she spoke.

Later Hermoso said the moment was a “natural gesture of affection”.

“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” said Hermoso, in comments passed to AFP by the Spanish federation.

“The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.

“A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot be gone over so much, we have won a World Cup and we are not going to deviate from what is important.”

The scandal surrounding both the federation and coach Jorge Vilda’s relationship with the players damaged Spain’s World Cup bid.

Several elite players were part of a 15-man protest against the national team ahead of the competition, but several of them changed their minds and three were included in the roster.

Rubiales was a staunch supporter of Vilda, and the RFEF was chastised for taking a hard line against the 15 protesting players.

Hermoso, who plays for Pachuca in Mexico, missed a penalty in the match, but Spain won thanks to Olga Carmona’s first-half goal.

“We played how we wanted to play and we won a World Cup,” an emotional Hermoso told Spanish broadcasters La 1, in tears after the game.

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