Lionesses stand with Spanish players over ‘heartbreaking’ situation, says Rachel Daly

Rachel Daly offered her support to the Spanish national side  (Action Images via Reuters)
Rachel Daly offered her support to the Spanish national side (Action Images via Reuters)

Rachel Daly has admitted it is “heartbreaking” to hear that many of Spain’s players do not want to report for international duty and insisted the Luis Rubiales kiss scandal has “overshadowed” the fact Spain won the World Cup.

Disgraced former Spanish FA president Rubiales eventually stepped down after originally refusing to resign following the non-consensual kiss he gave Spanish player Jenni Hermoso in the aftermath of Spain’s World Cup Final triumph over England.

In protest against the Spanish FA’s handling of the situation and the wider culture within the women’s game in Spain, 39 Spanish players declared they would not be making themselves available for international selection this month.

Many high-profile names have since reversed that decision, though, and joined up with the national team for fear of fines, bans from future participation, and even the threat of legal action by the Spanish FA had they remained on strike.

Speaking on Tuesday, World Cup finalist, England striker Daly said: “It’s extremely unfortunate what happened. The incident that happened with Jenni Hermoso is fully overshadowing the fact that they won the World Cup.

“You see it on a day-to-day basis in the media: everyone’s talking about that rather than how exceptionally they played during the World Cup and in the final. We, as players, and everyone in the female game stands with them, the Spanish players and in particular Jenni Hermoso. Hopefully it all gets resolved in the right way and we all stand with her in solidarity.”

Addressing the fact a number of Spain players have told the media they do not want to be on international duty, Daly said: “It shows how far we’ve got to go in women’s football in the world. It’s a really, really sad time to watch players, colleagues go through things like that.

“It’s awful to hear that, because for me — and probably everybody involved in the England team — it is the biggest honour to support the England shirt. It is the biggest honour you can possibly have in the women’s game to play for your country. It’s heartbreaking to hear that somebody wouldn’t want to be there.”

Meanwhile, reports this week indicated the summer weather that players could face at the 2026 Men’s World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States could reach scorching temperatures which are barely playable.

Daly, who spent nine years playing domestic football in the USA, revealed: “The humidity is what gets you the most. And with heat as well, it’s not the best — especially midday.

“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.”