Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has made light of the controversy that has overshadowed the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony after he was seen kissing Jennifer Hermoso on the lips.
La Roja dominated Sunday’s final against England with Olga Carmona’s excellent first-half strike securing a 1-0 victory, though in truth Spain could have won the contest by a far wider margin.
Hermoso had the opportunity to wrap up the win from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left on the clock but saw her effort saved by Marp Earps, though Spain held on relatively comfortably to secure their first Women’s World Cup title.
Their achievement was all the more remarkable due to the controversy that has surrounded manager Jorge Vilda, who was ignored by many of the players when they celebrated the victory at full-time.
The Spanish FA’s handling of the situation has also been criticised and Rubiales made more unwanted headlines with his behaviour during the trophy presentation.
He was a little too familiar with many of the players as they accepted their medals, hugging them, kissing them on the cheek and even lifting some players off the ground – though it was his embrace with Hermoso that really raised eyebrows.
After sharing a hug, Rubiales grabbed the 33-year-old Pachuca forward by the head and then planted a kiss on her lips.
Rubiales’ action caused a massive backlash on social media while Hermoso herself did not appear too happy afterwards, saying in an Instagram live from the dressing room: ‘Eh, but I didn’t like it.’
Barcelona’s teenage forward Salma Paralluelo also filmed the celebrations from inside the victorious dressing room and captured Rubiales’ rather unconcerned reaction to the furore he had created.
The Spanish players were trying to convince Rubiales to reward them with a holiday for winning the World Cup and he finally relented, saying they would go to Ibiza.
After the win over England, Rubiales also appeared to take aim at the 12 players who revolted against Vilda and refused to play under him, and who were not included in the squad that enjoyed such success Down Under.
‘It is often said that it takes a little time to realise an achievement like this, but I am perfectly aware,’ he told reporters after the match.
‘We have worked very hard, although there were people who did not want to let us work. I think we have to learn in Spain to value positive things. To let people do their job.
‘That small percentage of people who were constantly frustrated and resentful must learn that you have to let people work.’
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