RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - United States goalkeeper Hope Solo was the target of some teasing at the hands of Brazilian soccer fans on Wednesday as her team beat New Zealand 2-0 in their opening match of their quest for a fourth successive Olympic gold.
Solo, playing her 199th international match in the game in Belo Horizonte, was greeted by thousands of fans shouting “Zika!”, in reference to a Twitter photo she published last month, every time she cleared the ball or took a goal kick.
“Not sharing this!!! Get your own!” the 35-year-old had written on Twitter, where she was photographed wearing a mosquito net and holding a jumbo-sized bottle of insect repellent.
Solo later downplayed the picture but the Rio Games, the first in South America, have been beset by concerns over an outbreak of the virus, which can cause birth defects in newborn children.
Several athletes, particularly male golfers, have withdrawn due to their concerns of contracting the mosquito-born virus.
The chant, based on similar chants used by fans all across Latin America, was one of the talking points in a game the U.S. controlled without dominating.
They took an early lead after just nine minutes thanks to captain Carli Lloyd, who got on the end of a cross to wrong foot New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler and send a looping header into the corner of the net.
Alex Morgan got the second less than a minute into the second period when she ended a nice move by firing home between Nayler and the post from 12 yards out.
“They are very physical team and technically they were strong and they are strong throughout,” said Nayler. “There were moments when we broke them down but we couldn’t score.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury