Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has stoked the flames ahead of his side’s Confederations Cup semifinal against Brazil by labeling Neymar a player who likes to con referees.
The 32-year-old also hit out at the playing style of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side in what was a controversial press conference ahead of the clash in Belo Horizonte.
"Neymar is lightweight – he falls to the ground and fools the referee,” Lugano told reporters. “He can feign a foul and we must be watchful that nobody is fooled by his ability. The Chilean ref assignment is a coincidence. He will be under bigger pressure - I just hope he makes no mistakes.
"Brazil has abandoned its beautiful football style. They now hit people. It is a tough team and it is tactical.”
Uruguay goes into the all-South American clash as the underdog but Lugano remains hopeful his side can cause an upset and go on to face either Spain or Italy in the final.
"Our history shows we can fight well in tough matches. We have brought Uruguay's team back to where it should be," he said. “We have the right to dream of beating Brazil. They are evolving well, but we have the football that allows us to dream. We know each other well. We are proud to play this game against Brazil, plus potentially Spain or Italy."
Uruguay's team bus was delayed getting to the press conference and the defender was asked to comment on how well he felt Brazil's infrastructure had coped with hosting the event one year from the World Cup.
"Brazil is a large country with lots of traffic in big cities, that's just the way it is. I respect that," Lugano said. "We have been well received here, although there were logistical issues in Recife, with the training facilities far from the hotel."
- Sports & Recreation
- Diego Lugano