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Uruguay captain Diego Lugano accuses Neymar of fooling refs

Photo: Daniel Garcia/Getty Images

Neymar won 18 free kicks and committed 13 fouls in the group stages as Brazil advanced.

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) -- On the eve of their Confederations Cup semifinal meeting, Uruguay captain Diego Lugano on Tuesday accused Brazil star Neymar of fooling referees during the Confederations Cup by pretending to be fouled.

In three group-stage matches, Neymar won 18 free kicks and committed 13 fouls as Brazil advanced with three victories.

"I am worried about the fouls of Neymar,'' Lugano said through a translator. "At this Confederations Cup it's not just a case of someone being very apt at pretending to be fouled - Neymar is very lightweight. He can drop to the ground and fool the referees, and the rivals.

Lugano's stinging criticism of Neymar came after he was asked if Neymar is being protected by referees.

And Lugano had a clear message for Enrique Osses, who will referee the match in the Mineirao Stadium.

"Neymar can feign a foul so we must be watchful that nobody is fooled by his ability,'' the Paris Saint-Germain defender said.

Uruguay's team features one of the world's most controversial strikers, Luis Suarez, accused many times of cheating and diving and who is currently under suspension in the English Premier League for biting an opponent.

Lugano, who previously played for Sao Paulo, believes that Brazil's national team has cast aside "beautiful football'' in favor of brute force as it chases the World Cup title on home soil next year.

"Brazil is a team that abandoned `Joga bonito,' they are hitting hard and tough physically,'' Lugano said. "I have played in Brazil and Brazilian football is physically very tough, perhaps the toughest football in South America - more than we understand.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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