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Jun 26, 2013

Lugano attacks Neymar, Brazil

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has accused Brazil of abandoning the "beautiful game" and labelled the home nation's star striker Neymar as a diver.

• Blog: Uruguay pose problems
• Alvarez: Familia Scolari spirit

The South American foes square-off at the Estadio Mineirao on Wednesday for a spot in the Confederations Cup final.

But in a pre-game interview, the 32-year-old Lugano attacked Brazil for its physical approach while condemning Neymar for his penance for going to ground too easily.

"Brazil is a team that has abandoned the beautiful game, they hit hard and they are very tough physically," he told Eurosport.

"I have played here and it is perhaps the toughest football in Latin America and it is a tactical system they apply."

On Neymar, Lugano added: "Neymar can feign a foul and so we must be watchful that nobody is fooled by his ability.

"Neymar is very lightweight, he can drop to the ground and fool the referee and rivals."

And despite the home side entering the semi-final as favourites to win, Brazil have won all three of their Confederations Cup games, Lugano believed La Celeste's history proved they could cause a sensational upset.

"I think Uruguay's history shows we have been able to fight great matches in difficult situations and we have been lucky to bring ourselves back to the place where we used to be over the last four or five competitions," Lugano said.

"We know it is very difficult and we know they are going through a good period and are playing at home.

"But we have the right to dream and we have the football that allows us to dream."

Meanwhile, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez insists star striker Edinson Cavani is focused on the match, despite reports claiming he has agreed to terms with Chelsea.

Tabarez says he always knew Cavani would attract attention from Europe's biggest clubs, but is confident he can deal with the pressure.

"This is about the private life of a professional footballer. There is no lack of concentration from Cavani," he said.

"[Napoli president Aurelio] De Laurentiis got mad at me two years ago when I said it was a matter of time before Cavani would prove to be one of the world's best players - now he is top goalscorer in Italy."

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