CORDOBA, Spain (AP) — The Spanish women’s team received support from a record crowd Tuesday in its first home game since winning the World Cup.
A crowd of 14,194 watched Spain beat Switzerland 5-0 in the Nations League, surpassing the previous record of 11,209 fans for a Spain women’s national team match, set in a friendly against the United States last year.
The home crowd, which did not completely fill Córdoba’s 21,000-capacity Nuevo Arcangel stadium, showed support for players who have been fighting sexism since their world title was tarnished by a sparked scandal by former president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup awards ceremony.
Players boycotted the national team, but a deal was eventually reached with the federation and government mediators for meaningful reform of the beleaguered federation.
A banner held up by Córdoba supporters read: “Your fight is our pride. You’re not alone.”
Before the match, players from both teams gathered and held up a banner with the words “Se Acabo” – Spanish for “it’s over” – followed by “Our fight is the world fight.”
The slogan “Se Acabo” was launched by Hermoso’s teammate Alexia Putellas, Spain’s star player, and was a rallying call amid the scandal. New coach Montse Tomé excluded Hermoso from the team “to protect her”.
The players also wore bracelets with the slogan “Se Acabo” and raised their wrists while posing behind the banner.
The national team presented the World Cup trophy to the fans, with Putellas and Irene Paredes lifting it in front of the home crowd.
“We were delighted to be able to celebrate with the supporters,” said Aitana Bonmatí, scorer of a double on Tuesday. “It was an unusual week but we were able to overcome everything. The players showed that they are professionals.
Spain’s first match after the World Cup was a 3-2 win over Sweden in the Nations League last week.
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