RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) -- Portugal denied midfielder Raul Meireles gave a World Cup referee the finger in his side's stormy 4-0 defeat to Germany, insisting that he was merely gesturing a tactical switch.
Portugal's Raul Meireles looks at the ball during the group G World Cup soccer match between Germany and Portugal at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP-Yonhap)
Pictures on social media show Meireles, who sports a distinctive Mohawk hairstyle, raising the third finger on both hands to referee Milorad Mazic who had sent off Real Madrid defender Pepe.
But the the Portuguese football federation defended the Fenerbahce player, claiming there was nothing vulgar about the gesture.
"He was passing on to teammate Bruno Alves the instructions being relayed by coach Paulo Bento," said a FPF statement.