- Daly previously plied her trade in the US with Houston Dash and three LA teams
- She believes it is too hot in the afternoon to stage World Cup games at that time
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England soccer star Rachel Daly has warned that extreme temperatures in the US, Canada and Mexico could make it unsafe to play afternoon matches at the 2026 World Cup.
Soccer’s next global showpiece is scheduled to take place from mid-June to mid-July in 16 cities across the three countries, 11 of which are located in the US.
Daly, the 76-cap England international who currently plays for Aston Villa, has previously plied her trade in America with Houston Dash and three professional sides in LA. She also played college soccer in New York with St John’s Red Storm.
After experiencing the searing heat of a US summer first hand, the Lionesses star believes staging matches at the 2026 World Cup in the afternoon could be dangerous.
‘The humidity is what gets you the most,’ Daly said, via The Athletic. ‘And with heat as well, it’s not the best — especially midday.
England’s Rachel Daly has warned against playing 2026 World Cup games in the afternoon
Daly, who previously spent time with Houston Dash along with three LA teams, has experienced the heat of a US summer first hand
She believes playing afternoon matches in the US, Canada and Mexico could be unsafe
‘Three o’clock kick-offs is something I think should be avoided because it’s not safe.
‘The temperatures rise so high there and, from personal experience, it’s not a safe place to be. Hopefully, they can take the times into account.’
A number of US cities have set all-time high temperature records this summer, with Houston – one of the country’s hosts in 2026 – tying its all-time record temperature with a high of 109F (43C) last month. It also set a temperature of 101F (38C) in mid-July.
New York has also experienced a heatwave this summer, which took its toll on several players at the recent US Open tennis tournament.
World No 3 and eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev could be heard telling an umpire during one of the earlier rounds of the competition: ‘One player is going to die, and then you’re going to see…’
Last year’s World Cup in Qatar was moved from the traditional summer slot to winter due to concerns over the extreme heat levels in the Gulf state.
The US will have 11 host cities at the tournament in 2026, including New York (pictured)
Many of the country’s stadiums were equipped with air conditioning to combat the temperature, which will also be the case with most venues in 2026.
In addition, the upcoming World Cup will include 48 teams for the very first time after the tournament was expanded from 32 teams for the first time since 1998.
Group-stage games have regularly been staggered throughout the day over the past 25 years, leaving 2026 World Cup chiefs with a dilemma on their hands.