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Jenni Hermoso makes triumphant return for Spain with late winner in Italy

The Spain substitute Jenni Hermoso scored a superb 89th-minute winner against Italy in the Nations League on Friday as she returned to the national team for the first time since the kiss scandal following their Women’s World Cup success in August.

Hermoso had been left out of the squad for the matches against Sweden and Switzerland in September, but marked her return to the team with the winner in Salerno, finishing well on the rebound after Alexia Putellas’ shot was saved by the Italy goalkeeper, Laura Giuliani.

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The attacking player came off the bench midway through the second half to make her first apperance following the furore which overshadowed their World Cup final win in Australia, involving the former Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales resigned last month after the allegedly unsolicited kiss at the World Cup presentation ceremony caused outrage among players, government officials and many in wider Spanish society and raised questions over sexism in sport.

“What better joy than to get back here and feel good again, to score the goal that gets the win – I can only smile,” said Hermoso, who plays club football for Mexican side Pachuca, after scoring her 52nd international goal.

Jennifer Hermoso steers the ball home to earn Spain a 1-0 victory in Salerno.Jennifer Hermoso steers the ball home to earn Spain a 1-0 victory in Salerno. Photograph: Massimo Pica/EPA

Spain’s new head coach, Montse Tomé, said at the time of Hermoso’s omission from the squad that she made the decision to “protect her”, although she was now thrilled to have Hermoso back in the team.

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“We’re all very happy because we were able to win and because she [Hermoso] scored that goal,” Tome said after Friday’s game. “When Italy closed down, when they got more into a low block, we needed someone else, like Jenni, in there. And she scored that goal, the goal that made us all very happy.”

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Roundup: Dutch bounce back against Scotland


The Netherlands saw off Scotland 4-0 to stay level with England at the top of Group A1. Daniëlle van de Donk flicked home at the near post to open the scoring after 12 minutes, with 20-year-old forward Esmee Brugts doubling their lead on the rebound after a fine team move.

Lineth Beerensteyn latched on to a long ball to score the hosts’ third soon after the restart, then added a fourth as the Dutch bounced back from their 2-1 defeat in Belgium. Scotland stay bottom of the group, and need to take something from Tuesday’s return at Hampden Park.

In Group A3, Wales were beaten 5-1 by Germany after Ceri Holland’s close-range finish just before half-time saw them go in level. Lea Schüller opened the scoring and restored Germany’s lead in the 47th minute, before Giulia Gwinn’s penalty made the game safe for the hosts.

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As the visitors tired, Sjœke Nüsken’s shot deflected in off Rhiannon Roberts before subsitute Nicole Anyomi added a fifth. Germany are second in the group behind Denmark, who beat Iceland 1-0 in Reykjavik thanks to Amalie Vangsgaard’s winner 20 minutes from time.

Wendie Renard’s winner kept France on course to win Group A2 with a 2-1 success over Norway, while Barbara Dunst got the decisive goal as Austria beat Portugal 2-1 to climb into second place. In Group A4, Magda Eriksson’s goal was enough for Sweden to beat  Switzerland.

In the second tier, Northern Ireland lost 3-2 to Hungary in a dramatic finale. Hanna Nemeth’s stoppage-time free kick won it as the hosts leapfrogged their opponents in the Group B1 table. The visitors had twice levelled late on through Caragh Hamilton and Simone Magill.

The Republic of Ireland top the group and they stayed on course for promotion, Katie McCabe hitting a hat-trick as they thrashed Albania 5-1 in Dublin. The Arsenal star set up Ireland’s other two goals, scored in the second half by Kyra Carusa. Guardian sport

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“I would also like to say how happy I am with that goal, considering the time she has spent on the pitch. We saw her smiling and I think everyone is smiling,” the coach added.

Spain top Nations League A group four with maximum points from three games and face bottom side Switzerland on Tuesday.