MADRID: Keeper Iker Casillas sealed Spain`s first ever World Cup win by kissing his TV reporter girlfriend, who had been accused of distracting him, before millions of viewers during a live on-air interview.
The 29-year-old told Sara Carbonero, a journalist for Spain`s Telecinco channel, he was "super happy" just minutes after Spain`s nailbiting 1-0 extra-time win over the Netherlands.
"I want to thank the people who have always supported me, my parents, my brother," he said before trailing off and looking away as his eyes welled with tears.
Carbonero, 25, then said the channel would show images of the match but Casillas shook his index finger and suddenly kissed the reporter, first on the mouth and then on her cheek before declaring that the interview was over.
After Spain lost its opening match against Switzerland 1-0 with Casillas at least partly to blame for the goal, British newspapers speculated that his girlfriend`s presence at the tournament may have distracted him.
To back their theory they published a picture of her, microphone in hand, reporting from behind the net just a few feet (meters) from Casillas during the warm-up for the match against Switzerland.
The head of the Madrid press association, Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, accused Carbonero of breaching professional ethics saying "she must know that you shouldn`t get emotionally involved in the stories you are covering."
But Telecinco, part of the network owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, defended Carbonero, saying it is FIFA which decided to place journalists behind the goal posts of their national teams.
BDST: 1756hrs, July 12, 2010