Montse Tomé has been named head coach of the Spain women’s national team.

An assistant coach with the team during the 2023 World Cup, Tomé will make her debut as head coach in late September. World champions Spain will compete in the UEFA Nations League, taking on Sweden, Switzerland and Italy in Group A4.

Tomé replaces Jorge Vilda, who was fired on Tuesday as part of the fallout from federation president Luis Rubiales’ actions at the World Cup.

Tomé was one of 12 Spain soccer employees who resigned in the wake of the World Cup celebrations, when Rubiales kissed star forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips. Rubiales has denied that the kiss was non-consensual and has refused to resign from his position, while Hermoso has said that she was a “victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part.”

As FIFA investigates the incident, Rubiales has been placed on a 90-day suspension and Spain’s entire World Cup-winning team — plus 33 additional players — have refused to return to the national team without a leadership change.

Tomé, a former midfielder for Spain, made just four international appearances while playing for club teams Levante and FC Barcelona. After retiring in 2012, she began her coaching career and was hired as a Spain assistant in 2018.

Tomé begins her tenure as Spain’s first-ever female head coach.

Jorge Vilda has been fired by the Royal Spanish Football Federation in the wake of the scandal involving federation president Luis Rubiales. The head coach of the women’s national team, Vilda was also removed from his post as sporting director on Tuesday.

FIFA has placed Rubiales on a 90-day suspension while it investigates his behavior from Spain’s World Cup celebrations. Rubiales has denied that his kiss of Spain star Jenni Hermoso was non-consensual and has refused to resign as president.

Meanwhile, all 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad, as well as 58 other current and former players, have said they will not return to play for the national team “if the current management continues.”

On Tuesday, the RFEF issued a statement apologizing for the “totally unacceptable behavior” by Rubiales and said that it is cooperating with the disciplinary actions taken against him.

“The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society,” the statement reads. “The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.”

The federation also thanked Vilda, who came under fire last year when players first spoke out about the team’s culture. Last September, 15 players said they would not play for the national team under Vilda until significant changes were made. Three of those 15 players returned for the World Cup.

In the weeks after the World Cup win, Rubiales had backed Vilda as coach. Vilda broke with his boss on Aug. 27 to condemn the incident with Hermoso.

“The coach has been key to the notable growth in women’s football and left Spain as World Champion and second in FIFA ranking,” the federation said. But, according to ESPN, Vilda was informed of his removal shortly after the statement was released.

The RFEF also promised a “profound and immediate restructuring” of the organization. Regional presidents of the organization have called for Rubiales’ resignation.

“There have to be structural changes in women’s football,” Joan Soteras, the president of the Catalan Federation and a member of the RFEF committee of regional presidents, said last week. “One of those could be [removing] Vilda. He was at the centre of the mess with the national team [last September]. If it was up to me, I would [dismiss him]. A change would be the most convenient thing for the good of women’s football.”

Luis Rubiales has lost a powerful ally.

Spain coach Jorge Vilda on Saturday broke with Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), condemning Rubiales’ “inappropriate behavior.”

Rubiales gave Spain star Jenni Hermoso an unsolicited kiss during the team’s World Cup medal ceremony, sparking mass criticism for the global soccer community. Rubiales in recent days has resisted calls to resign and has instead said Hermoso is lying.

“The events that have taken place since Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in its history and to this day have been a real nonsense and have generated an unprecedented situation, tarnishing a well-deserved victory for our players and our country,” Vilda said in a statement. “I regret deeply that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behaviour that our until now top leader, Luis Rubiales, has carried out and that he himself has recognised.”

Last year, 15 players criticized Vilda’s management style in a letter written to the RFEF. Rubiales decided then to back Vilda, but now, Vilda has turned on his boss after he was provisionally suspended for 90 days by FIFA.

Following the suspension, Rafael del Amo, RFEF’s vice president, resigned, and so did four assistants for Spain’s senior team, two from the women’s youth teams and five staff members across the senior and youth women’s team.

“There is no doubt that it is unacceptable and does not reflect at all the principles and values that I defend in my life, in sport in general and in football in particular,” Vilda said in the statement.”I condemn without doubt any macho attitude, [which should be] far from an advanced and developed society. A clearly undesirable climate has been generated, far from what should have been a great celebration of Spanish sport and women’s sport.

“I reiterate my unwavering commitment to promoting a sport that is a model of equality and respect in our society.”

Olga Carmona came streaking up the left side of the field, outrunning England’s defense as Mariona Caldentey placed a perfect pass to her feet. Carmona connected, firing a low line drive into the net with 29 minutes gone by.

Carmona also scored in Spain’s semifinal win over Sweden, making her the first player to score in a World Cup final and semifinal since 2015. She became the fourth-youngest player to score in a final at 23 years and 69 days, and the goal ended up being the game-winner, propelling Spain to its first World Cup victory with a 1-0 win over England.

An improbable series of events for an improbable victor.

The goal itself was perfect. Spain executed a series of exceptional passes and Carmona sprinted from her spot as a defender up the sideline, overtaking Caldentey to put her in prime position to score. Her shot rocketed into the opposite corner of the net, past the outstretched arms of a diving Mary Earps.

Carmona’s back-to-back goals were unlikely, and her championship-winning strike was beautiful. Both are descriptors that can also be applied to Spain’s World Cup run this year. Because, despite the incredible soccer the players displayed throughout the tournament, the team is also surrounded by controversy in regards to their coach, Jorge Vilda.

Against all odds, they hoisted the World Cup trophy on Sunday with golden confetti falling over their heads.

Back in September, 15 Spanish players sent letters to the Spanish Football Federation, asking not to be summoned for friendly matches until changes were made within the organization. They condemned the way Vilda coached the team, stating that their mental health and well-being were not being looked after and that the coach exhibited controlling behavior.

“We regret that in the context of women’s sport we have to go to the extreme, as unfortunately has happened in other national teams and other sports historically worldwide, in order to advance in a powerful and ambitious professional project for the present and for future generations,” the players said in a statement.

The federation continued to back Vilda and even demanded apologies from the players. Several rejoined the ranks, but three key members of the team — Mapi Leon, Patri Guijarro and Claudia Pina — did not, and Spain competed in the World Cup without them.

Despite 12 of the 15 players returning to the pitch, the divide between the team and Vilda remained. Their battle with Vilda and the federation continued for the next year, and into the World Cup. Spain’s best player, two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, was also limited throughout the tournament while working her way back from an ACL injury. The striker did not enter Sunday’s final until stoppage time.

And yet, the players forged ahead.

When Spain defeated the Netherlands to advance to the World Cup semifinal, Vilda was left on the outside of the players’ celebrations. Similar celebrations occurred after Spain topped England in the final. Despite the ultimate victory, the division remains.

The product on the field did not reflect the turmoil surrounding the team. No matter how improbable the young Carmona’s goal seemed, it was the rule, not the exception to how Spain has played soccer throughout the World Cup.

Former U.S. Soccer great Julie Foudy commended Spain’s passing on Twitter, saying her United States teams never moved the ball like the Spanish team does.

“Their grace on the ball is gorgeous to watch,” she wrote.

Their ability to maintain that grace, despite the team’s off-field issues, makes their World Cup victory all the more impressive.

Spain played beautiful, World Cup-winning soccer not because of support from those in power, but in spite of it. They played — and won — for themselves and for the future of women’s soccer in their country.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Spain’s road to the World Cup final has been paved with controversy.

Last September, 15 Spanish first team players sent letters to RFEF, Spain’s football federation, demanding changes to the program and condemning head coach Jorge Vilda’s approach to leadership.

The controversy has led some to believe there is a rift within the team. Vilda attempted to lower the temperature Saturday when addressing the media ahead of Spain’s match against England in the final.

“From the very beginning, the players have been united and working a lot,” Vilda said. “Today will be the 65th training session and all have come out very well — the training, games, everything inside the squad has been extraordinary. They have had fun, we’ve been together.”

When asked how he manages “issues” off the field, Vilda demurred. “Next question, please,” he said.’

Spain defeated Sweden, 2-1, to advance to the final against England, a rematch of the Euro 22 quarterfinal, which the Lionesses won en route to winning the tournament.

“The game of last year, we know we were on top, but the result is what counts,” Vilda said. “But England knows what is front of them tomorrow — these games require our best, but the team has evolved and grown in this World Cup.”

No matter the result, however, the questions surrounding Spain are unlikely to dissipate. Of the 15 players who raised concerns about the program – known as “Las 15” – only three were selected to the World Cup squad. The Spanish media has reported on a divide among the players.

Vilda, though, is projecting a sunny team atmosphere ahead of the championship.

“I am extremely pleased to play a World Cup final tomorrow, with a country that is supporting the team,” he said. “It could be the happiest day of their lives. We feel very supported.”