Like many things, chants get better with practice. Especially coordinated chants. And, apparently, especially Brazilian chants taunting U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Brazilian fans booed Solo and hurled “Zika!” chants at her during the Americans’ opener against New Zealand. Those chants were amplified, more in tune and more consistent in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s second group game against France, a 1-0 win.
Have a listen:
Solo, who was making her 200th appearance for the U.S., had the last laugh though. She made multiple crucial saves in the U.S.’s 1-0 victory over France. The best came right before halftime, with the game at 0-0 and the French putting real pressure on the U.S.
The chants are a response to photos Solo put out on social media before the Olympics even began:
A photo posted by Hope Solo (@hopesolo) on Jul 21, 2016 at 7:57pm PDT
Even as she repelled shot after shot on Saturday, the chants continued, and were more noticeable than they were Wednesday. Every time Solo had time with the ball, or set up to take a goal kick, the fans began a crescendoing chorus of whistles and roars. And then at the exact moment Solo sent the ball upfield… “ZIIIIKAAAA!”
The “Zika” chants take after a global soccer tradition of fans yelling insults at goalkeepers as they prepare to take goal kicks. Many Mexican fans, and other fans of Central and South American teams, infamously yell a gay slur, despite repeated calls for them to stop.
These “Zika” chants seem a little more lighthearted. Solo is taking them in the right way too. ”I’m glad the fans had fun,” Solo said Thursday. ”And if they had fun at my expense, more power to them.”