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Spain players rejoin national team amid dispute: What to know

Alexia Putellas, Jenni Hermoso and Irene Paredes celebrate Spain’s World Cup victory. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Despite Spain players’ plans to strike, selected players have arrived at their national team camp following threats of a fine or a domestic league ban. But what does it all mean? And how did we get here?

Just Women’s Sports is breaking down the major storylines as Spain players continue to be at odds with their federation.

What has happened so far?

  • Spain players reported for national team duty Tuesday despite saying Friday that they would not return to the national team until further changes were made. Nothing about that stance had changed from Friday to Monday, when Spain announced its squad for upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Of the 23 players selected to the roster, 15 were present at the 2023 World Cup and 21 signed the statement last week demanding action from the Spanish football federation (RFEF). The team has been embroiled in controversy since its World Cup title win on Aug. 20.
  • If the players refused their call-ups, they could have faced fines of up to €30,000 and a ban of their federation license for up to 15 years, among other possible sanctions. While they tried to get out of the training camp, saying the RFEF did not inform them in a timely manner per FIFA rules, they did show up Tuesday.

What have players said?

  • Asked by reporters Tuesday if the players were in agreement with head coach Montse Tomé’s squad list, goalkeeper Misa Rodríguez simply said: “No.”
  • Jenni Hermoso was not called up to the squad, a decision she saw as a manipulative move by the RFEF and a sign that “nothing has changed,” she said in a statement. Hermoso received a nonconsensual kiss from former RFEF president Luis Rubiales at the 2023 World Cup final, which spurred a tidal wave of backlash from Spain’s players and the global soccer community. Rubiales has since resigned.
  • Mapi Léon refused a World Cup call-up as one of the original 15 players to protest the federation starting last October, but she was called up Monday. She said Tuesday: “We would have to talk at length about whether the place is safe or not safe when they are forcing us. I believe that my position has been very clear, at no time have I changed my mind.”

What comes next?

  • Victor Francos, the president of the supreme council for sports in Spain, confirmed the possible sanctions for players if they did not participate in the camp and ensuing friendlies. The sports council is expected to act as a mediator between players and the federation. “If the players don’t show up, the government will do what it has to do, which is to apply the law,” Francos said. “Unfortunately, the law is the law, but I still hope that there can be a solution. I am going to talk with the players. I am going to try.”

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

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Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

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