SALERNO, Italy (AP) — Jenni Hermoso came off the bench to score a late winner for Spain against Italy on Friday in her first international game since the World Cup final, where the kiss she was subjected to by the Spanish soccer federation president caused an international uproar.
Hermoso was on hand to slot home a rebound in the 89th minute to give Spain a 1-0 victory in a Women's Nations League group game.
She had come on as a substitute in the 68th minute in her first game for the national team since helping Spain win the World Cup title. She then found herself at the center of the crisis that engulfed Spanish soccer after she was kissed on the lips by Luis Rubiales at the awards ceremony in Australia.
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.
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.
Hermoso had been omitted from the first squad list announced after the World Cup by new coach Montse Tomé, who at the time said she wanted to protect the player amid all the scrutiny.
But she was called up again by Tomé last week, with the coach saying it was "the right moment” for Hermoso to return.
The win maintained Spain's perfect Nations League record with three wins in three games in Group 4, which also includes Sweden and Switzerland.
Spain plays Switzerland on Tuesday.
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The Associated Press