Pic of Maddy-lookalike goes viral

Excited soccer fans point to close resemblance of girl seen on TV at Europa final.

The lookalike at the soccer appeared to have a distinctive flaw  in her left eye; Maddy's was in her right.
The lookalike at the soccer appeared to have a distinctive flaw in her left eye; Maddy's was in her right.

A photograph of a young girl at the Europa League soccer final who bears an uncanny resemblance to missing Madeleine McCann has gone viral.

The youngster was filmed during ITV4's live coverage of Seville's 4-2 penalties defeat of Portuguese giants Benfica on Wednesday night.

Fans said the girl in a red top shown clapping looked just like age-adjusted images of Madeleine, who vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

A picture of the girl in the crowd in Turin, Italy, went viral as hundreds became convinced it was Madeleine, who would now be 11.

Some said she even had Madeleine's distinctive flawed eye.

The photo was retweeted to the Metropolitan Police in London, who are conducting a 6 million ($11.7 million) hunt for Madeleine.

One soccer fan who posted the picture of the girl on Twitter wrote: "Looks like Madeleine at the Seville game." Another added: "Definitely does look like her! Unreal how much!"

However, a source close to the McCann family said although the girl in the photo bore some resemblance to images of how Madeleine might look now, the apparent flaw was in the wrong eye.

Madeleine's defect - a dark strip on the iris - was in her right eye; the girl in the crowd's appears to be in the left one.

"What is encouraging is that it shows everyone is still looking for Madeleine," said a friend of the McCanns. "That will give her family great strength."

As the seventh anniversary approaches of Madeleine's disappearance, British police are preparing to dig at a site near where she disappeared.

New ground searches close to the apartment the McCanns were staying in are expected to start within days.

Madeleine's doctor parents Kate, 46, and Gerry, 45, continue to believe their eldest child is still alive.

- Herald on Sunday

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