Nations League: Jenni Hermoso nets winner as Spain edge out Italy

Jenni Hermoso of Spain celebrates with teammates.
Jenni Hermoso of Spain celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the UEFA Women's Nations League against Italy on October 27, 2023. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)

Jenni Hermoso made a significant impact on her first international appearance since the World Cup final. The 33-year-old came off the bench to score a late winner in Friday’s 1-0 victory over Italy in the UEFA Women’s Nations League.

Hermoso had received her first call-up since Luis Rubiales kissed her on the lips, without her consent, following Spain’s World Cup final win.

New Spain head coach Montse Tomé left Hermoso out of the squad for the first two Nations League fixtures because she wanted “to protect her.” However, the forward returned for the current international period, starting on the bench for the meeting with Italy in Salerno.

How it went

Spain made a fast start to the contest, with Mariona Caldentey firing over, before Aitana Bonmatí forced Laura Giuliani into a fine stop. Gotham FC striker Esther González was the next to try her luck, driving her effort wide of the goal to the relief of the hosts.

After soaking up the early pressure, Italy offered their own threat through Elena Linari. The defender prodded the ball goalwards from a deep corner kick, testing the reactions of Barcelona goalkeeper Cata Coll.

Italy boss Andrea Soncin, who succeeded Milena Bertolini in September, watched his side make an encouraging start to the second period, as Barbara Bonansea attempted to catch Spain off-guard with a long-range effort, which was comfortably gathered by the Spain shot-stopper.

While Spain continued to dominate possession, clearcut chances were proving hard to come by. However, as the contest entered the closing stages, Spain ramped up the pressure, with Salma Paralluelo heading wide from Hermoso’s clipped cross.

Despite offering their best efforts, Italy’s resistance was eventually broken in the 89th minute. Giuliani made a fine stop to deny Putellas, but Hermoso was on hand to guide home the rebound.

Valentina Giacinti was unable to convert a late chance, ensuring Italy fell to a second straight 1-0 defeat, leaving them in third position.

Italy will travel to Malmo for Tuesday’s clash with Sweden, while the group leaders will now prepare for an away trip to Switzerland.

Starting lineups

Italy: Giuliani; Bartoli (Giacinti, 90′), Lenzini, Linari, Boattin, Di Guglielmo, Galli (Bergamaschi, 72′), Caruso, Bonansea (Cambiaghi 72′), Bonfantini (Glionna, 61′), Girelli (Greggi, 72′)

Spain: Coll; Batlle, Codina, Aleixandri, Carmona (Hernández, 79′), Bonmatí, Abelleira (Gabarro, 94′), Putellas, García (del Castillo, 46′), Caldentey (Hermoso, 68′), González (Paralluelo, 46′)

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