PARIS —The climate has changed considerably since the United States women’s national team arrived in France June 7. For the first four matches, temperatures hovered in the 60s and low 70s. Now, France is experiencing a heatwave with temperatures reaching record highs and soaring over 100 degrees in some areas.
Several hundred schools closed throughout the country Wednesday because of the heat and will remain closed Thursday and Friday. Some train lines were slowed as well, and some cities, including Paris, implemented traffic restrictions to handle increased pollution and lower air quality.
The forecasted high for Friday is 94 degrees, and it will likely remain in the high 80s for the 9 p.m. (3 p.m. ET) kickoff of the U.S. World Cup quarterfinal against host France.
But USWNT players said they are not concerned about playing their big game, which will determine whether they advance to Lyon for the semifinals or go home, in hot weather.
“I can speak for myself and most of the girls who play in the NWSL, we play in this heat every week,” U.S. midfielder Sam Mewis said. “I live in North Carolina, so I train in this. We haven’t noticed it that much. I think a lot of girls are used to it.”
Paris is under an orange-level heat warning, which is the second highest in the four-tier rating system. The warning means that everyone, even people in good health, are threatened by the heat and should be careful of dehydration and heat stroke, according to meteoalarm.eu, which integrates severe weather information from all European countries.
“Danger is greater for elderly people, people with chronic illness or mental disease, people who regularly take medications and isolated persons. Athletes and people who work outdoors should be careful of dehydration and heat stroke. Pay particular attention to children,” the warning states.
FIFA usually bans outside water bottles from stadiums, but allowed fans to bring their own water bottles into Sweden’s 1-0 win Monday against Canada.
FIFA also can implement short water breaks for players anytime after 30 minutes in matches played in extreme heat.
“Like Sam said, we have just a ton of methods and resources available to us to make sure we’re not affected by this,” forward Tobin Heath said. “And we’ve already started our kind of process of being well-adapted to the heat.”