Germany 4 Portugal 0: Portuguese deny Raul Meireles made an offensive gesture to referee

Pictures show midfielder sticking his middle fingers up at the referee

Portugal have denied that midfielder Raul Meireles made an offensive gesture at the referee in their defeat to Germany on Monday and instead insisted he was giving instructions to teammates.

Photographs appeared to show the 31-year-old sticking his middle fingers up at Serbian match official Milorad Mazic after teammate Pepe was sent-off for head-butting Thomas Muller.

However, the Portuguese management team have denied the claims and explained Meireles was simply passing on tactical directions from coaching staff.

"The Portuguese football federation (FPF) reiterates that there was no gesture directed to the match referee and regrets the speculation which would seriously damage the interests of the player and the national team," they said a statement.

"The FPF clarifies that the gesture, which has been misinterpreted, was directed at teammate Bruno Alves and merely indicated instructions from coach Paulo Bento.”

On closer inspection, the photographs seem to show the former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder using his index fingers which would back up the FPF’s claims of innocence.

"Raul Meireles was just explaining that he would drop back to the position of central defender, playing on the right of the defence,” the FPF clarified.

Portugal’s squad has already been depleted by injuries to striker Hugo Almeida and full-back Fabio Coentrao and with Pepe set to receive at least a one-game ban for his head-butt, the FPF are clearly keen for Meireles to avoid further punishment.