World Cup: Protester carrying rainbow flag invades pitch during game

A pitch invader carrying a rainbow flag ran on to the pitch during Monday's World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay.

The protester was wearing a blue Superman T-shirt adorned with the messages "save Ukraine" and "respect for Iranian woman".

He was chased down by security officials and ushered away through a tunnel, with the rainbow flag falling to the ground.

The referee then proceeded to pick up the flag leaving it on the side lines, where a worker then came and collected it.

It was not clear whether he was detained by police or faced any changes after being escorted off the pitch at the Lusail Stadium during the second half of the match.

Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who scored both goals in his team's 2-0 win, said he was so focused on the game that he didn't really notice what the protester's intent was. He thought he might have wanted to take a picture with star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Speaking through a translator, Fernandes said: "To be honest I didn't really see what was the message that was trying to be conveyed.

"But we've already spoken about that many times... We respect all human rights but those are political issues where we unfortunately don't really have much strength, where we can't really change anything."

Before the World Cup started, Fernandes said soccer should be "for everyone" - adding that he wasn't happy about workers who died building stadiums in Qatar.

Qatar's laws against homosexuality and the treatment of LGBTQ individuals gained scrutiny in the run-up to the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.

In the first week of the tournament, seven European teams lost the battle to wear multi-coloured "One Love" armbands during World Cup matches.

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Fans were also not allowed bring items with rainbow colours, a symbol of LGBTQ rights, into the stadiums of the conservative Islamic emirate.

Qatar said everyone was welcome, including LGBTQ fans, but visitors should respect the nation's culture.