The World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay was briefly interrupted on Monday by a field invader waving a rainbow flag on the Lusail Iconic Stadium pitch.
The global FIFA television feed avoided showing the pitch intruder, but the person could be seen running on the pitch behind the flag as they were chased by security officials.
Portugal won the match 2–0 thanks to two goals from Bruno Fernandes in the second half, a win that saw the European team qualify for the knockout stages.
The pitch invader incident happened in the 51st minute of the game. Iranian referee Alireza Faghani was later seen picking up the flag from the turf.
Getty photos showed the flag carrier wearing a shirt with the words “RESPECT FOR IRANIAN WOMAN” on the back and “SAVE UKRAINE” on the front.
CNN has reached out to FIFA and Qatar’s tournament organizers for more information about the incident.
Iran’s participation in the World Cup, which will face the US Men’s National Team in a Group B match on Tuesday, came against the backdrop of the country’s domestic unrest.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. In recent weeks, Russian forces have repeatedly targeted power infrastructure in Ukraine, leaving more than seven million people without power after a wave of attacks a week ago, Ukrainian officials said.
However, Ukrainians remain resolute in the face of Russian missile attacks and hopes for a negotiated end to the war remain distant even as America’s top general pushes for diplomacy.
Meanwhile, the issue of LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar has also been a constant theme at the World Cup. The rainbow is a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
On Saturday, two German soccer fans told CNN they had been asked by security officials to remove the rainbow-colored items they were wearing as they headed to the World Cup match between France and Denmark.
Last week, US journalist Grant Wahl and former Wales captain Laura McAllister both said they were instructed by security personnel to remove rainbow-colored patterned clothing.
Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after his arrest and received an apology from a FIFA representative and a senior member of the security team at the stadium.
When asked to clarify the dress code for fans, FIFA CNN referenced the tournament handbook, stating that “expats and tourists are free to wear the clothing of their choice as long as it is modest and respects the culture.”
After some Welsh fans were also banned from stadiums for wearing rainbow-colored bucket hats, the Welsh Football Association said FIFA told the federation on Thursday that rainbow-colored flags and hats are allowed in Qatar World Cup stadiums.
Qatar’s LGBTQ+ laws, which make sex between men illegal and punishable in the country with up to three years in prison, have been criticized.
A Human Rights Watch report released last month documented cases in September of Qatari security forces arbitrarily arresting LGBT people and subjecting them to “maltreatment in detention.”
However, the country has insisted that “everyone is welcome” to the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people, regardless of their background.”
Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had scored Portugal’s first goal, but not according to FIFA officials.
Halfway through the second half, the 37-year-old got up and headed a cross from Fernandes.
Ronaldo seemed confident he had the slightest touch to score his second goal in as many games in Qatar 2022 – and certainly celebrated like he did.
However, Ronaldo was left disappointed after the officials changed their mind and awarded the goal to Fernandes.
In the hunt for the equalizer, Uruguay stepped up the pressure, especially after the introduction of Luis Suárez and Maxi Gomez.
Just minutes after coming on, Gomez hit the post with a curling attempt, while Suárez was only able to hit the side net from close range shortly afterwards.
Portugal secured victory after the video assistant referee awarded a controversial penalty for a handball by José María Giménez.
Fernandes had two more chances to complete his hat-trick, but was denied by Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet and then the post thwarted the Manchester United midfielder.
The victory means Portugal are with one game left to progress to the next stage of the World Cup, while Uruguay need a last-game win against Ghana to have any hope of progress.
Friday’s match between the South American side and the African team will be the first meeting in the World Cup since their controversial quarter-final in 2010, when Uruguay defeated Ghana in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals.
Ghana had to regret a missed penalty kick in the last minute of extra time, depriving it of the honor of becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals.
The penalty was awarded after Ghanaian Dominic Adiyiah had his first shot on the line blocked by Suarez and his follow-up attempt was blocked by the hand of the Uruguayan striker.
It meant a red card for Suarez, but Asamoah Gyan’s penalty kick hit the crossbar, ending the game in a penalty shootout.