RIGA (Latvia): A streaker who interrupted a World Cup qualifier between Latvia and Portugal by running topless onto the field and hugging a Portuguese defender was charged with hooliganism and could be sentenced to as long as two years in jail, Latvia police said on Monday.
As is customary in Latvia, police identified the woman by her first name, Liene, adding that she went by the nickname Strawberry.''
Her topless run onto the field in the 54th minute of Saturday's game drew a roar of approval from the crowd but appeared to unsettle the Latvian team as Portugal scored two goals just minutes after play resumed. Latvia lost 2-0.
The streak, the first at a Latvian soccer game, appeared to leave police unsettled, too.
The woman waited on the field for nearly a minute before officers escorted her off.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was shown on television laughing throughout the incident, jokingly credited the woman's run as the game's turning point at a post-match press conference.
Latvian prosecutors and soccer officials were not amused and charged her with hooliganism. If convicted, she could be sentenced to two years in jail, community service or a fine.
A court date was not announced.
Strawberry told police she ran on the field in the name of art, saying it made her happy to have brought so many smiles to the fans and to Scolari.
Some fans posting on the popular Latvian Web forum Delfi on Monday thought the charges were severe.
This is funny, but it's actually tragic,'' wrote one contributor calling himself Cidons.
For an action that didn't harm anyone and made people laugh they're going to open a criminal case?''