Swedes find solace in solidarity despite loss to Spain

GOTHENBURG, Sweden (Reuters): Spanish and Swedish players got together ahead of Friday night’s Nations League clash to send a strong message that although some changes may have taken place after a turbulent few weeks in women’s football, the struggle is far from over.

Spain’s players eked out a 3-2 win thanks to a late penalty and though the result will be an important one in terms of the outcome of the Nations League and Olympic qualifying, many of the Swedish players felt that showing support was just as vital.

“It’s not just their fight, it’s the whole world’s fight, so we wanted to show that we stand behind them,” Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani told Reuters.

Now at Italian side AC Milan, Asllani spent three years at Real Madrid and she embraced former team mate Teresa Abelleira after the final whistle.

“I have a lot of good friends in the team and we discussed what they’re going through. What we said will stay between us, but they were grateful for our support and that we stand behind them. It’s a matter of course for us,” Asllani said.

The two teams came together before kickoff, holding up a banner with the words “Our fight is the global fight” and the hashtag #SeAcabo (‘It’s over’ in Spanish) that has become a mantra of those calling for change.

The Spanish team’s long-simmering row with the country’s association reached boiling point when former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales planted a kiss on the lips of player Jennie Hermoso after they won the World Cup final in August.