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Portugal's national football team shows support for UN refugee agency


The UN refugee agency received a public show of support from Portugal’s national football team at the start of a World Cup qualifying match in Lisbon.

When Portugal and Denmark entered the José Alvalade Stadium, each player was accompanied by a child sporting a T-shirt and cap emblazoned with the distinctive UNHCR logo. As they lined up for the national anthems, the youngsters held up banners in front of the two teams bearing the messages in English and Portuguese: “Portugal Pelos Refugiados” (Portugal for the Refugees).

The message of goodwill, plus the presence of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, did not bring Portugal any luck on the pitch. Denmark’s two last-gasp goals gave the visitors a 3-2 victory in a thrilling match.

The display of support for refugees from one of the world’s great national sides came at the end of a day of events to give a public launch to a new network of Portuguese organisations that will help drive the work of UNHCR’s Private Sector Fund Raising.