The majority of Spain’s World Cup winning team – although with the notable exception of Jenni Hermoso – have been selected for upcoming fixtures against Sweden and Switzerland, but it remains unclear whether the players have ended their international boycott following the resignation of Luis Rubiales.
Last week, a group of 39 players released an open letter demanding further changes at the Spanish Football Association before they would return to international duty, after their World Cup triumph in Sydney was overshadowed by the fallout that followed Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss on the lips of forward Hermoso.
Spain’s World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda was replaced amid the furore, with newly-appointed coach Montse Tome announcing her first squad since taking charge. Her selection included 15 of the 23 players who were in their World Cup squad, as well as two star players, Barcelona’s Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, who had boycotted the tournament after previously voicing concerns over playing conditions.
Tome would not reveal whether she had spoken to the players before she made her selection, which comes ahead of Spain’s match against Sweden on Friday. However, the coach explained that Hermoso had not been selected because it was the “best way to protect her” following the events that followed Spain’s 1-0 win against England in the World Cup final on 20 August.
The core of Spain’s World Cup-winning team have been called up, which includes 21 of the 39 players who signed an open letter demanding further changes following the exits of Rubiales and Vilda. An original group of 81 players had initiated the boycott in response to Rubiales’ unwanted kiss of the lips of Hermoso in Sydney.
Rubiales only resigned on 10 September, after Hermoso filed a criminal complaint against him for alleged sexual assault.