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US goalkeeper jeered with Zika chants

Published 04/08/2016

United States goalkeeper Hope Solo at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (AP)
United States goalkeeper Hope Solo at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (AP)

The US women's football team goalkeeper, who upset some Brazilians before the Olympics by tweeting a photo of herself wearing a hat with mosquito netting, was jeered by fans chanting "Zika, Zika" during their first match at the Games.

Hope Solo, who had also posted a photo of dozens of packs of mosquito repellent that she was packing for her trip to Brazil, said she was not bothered by the chants as the US team beat New Zealand.

The crowd of nearly 10,000 fans at the 60,000-capacity Mineirao Stadium jeered the goalkeeper with the reference to the virus that has scared many athletes ahead of the Rio Games.

"I'm glad the fans had fun," Solo said. "And if they had fun at my expense, more power to them."

The veteran goalkeeper said she did not realise during the game that the fans were chanting "Zika", and thought they were only yelling a homophobic slur that local clubs sometimes use against goalkeepers at goal-kicks.

Some of the fans were yelling the homophobic slur early in the game, but later the majority of the crowd started with the "Zika" chant, which was also repeated after the final whistle.

"I think that's something hopefully they will put behind them and realise that Hope has apologised to the Brazilian people," US coach Jill Ellis said of the fans.

"Sometimes mistakes are made. We are used to getting booed in other countries, so that part of it is not foreign. I hope the Brazilian people appreciate what we are trying to do with the ball and move past that."


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