Uruguayans relish one of world's great rivalries
© AFP

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is relishing pitting his team against hosts and holders Brazil in Wednesday's FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final, as their long rivalry makes for one of the world game's top fixtures.

Uruguay have been something of a bogey side for A Selecao, who have been wary of La Celeste ever since the latter wrecked their dreams of a first FIFA World Cup™ success by winning the 1950 Final in Rio's famed Maracana stadium.

The Brazilians have since landed five world titles leaving all other rivals in their wake in the historical annals of the game.

"Statistically we don't have Brazil's numbers," said Tabarez, who led the nation of only 3.3 million people to the 2011 Copa America to qualify for this tournament of continental champions.

Asked if he agreed with Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar that a Brazil versus Uruguay encounter exceeded even a Brazil meeting with South America's other heavyweights Argentina, Tabarez praised the Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper for holding that view.

"Matches against Brazil are very special and this is a very important match for us. We will certainly be motivated for what is most definitely one of the great fixtures in international football," said Tabarez, nicknamed El Maestro.

"Brazil is Brazil and so we will have to fight every inch of the way but we believe we are up for the challenge. I hope we will see a fiesta of South American football.

"We are very motivated but it's 11 against 11."

We will certainly be motivated for what is most definitely one of the great fixtures in international football.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez

Tabarez, in his second spell in charge of Los Charruas, two-time world champions, has yet to taste victory in four attempts against Brazil.

The last time Uruguay beat Brazil, in 2001, he had moved on after a brief first spell in charge before returning in 2006 and leading the team to the 2010 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.

Veteran skipper Diego Lugano said Uruguay, having beaten Nigeria and Tahiti to get this far after losing their opener to Spain, will not feel any kind of inferiority ahead of playing Brazil in their back yard even if their recent FIFA World Cup qualifying form has been patchy.

"We are very committed to the shirt even if we have had some difficult moments" in the Cup qualifiers, where they are struggling to claim automatic qualification for next year's finals in Brazil.

"Brazil are in good form and are at home - be we can dream of beating them. Why not?" said Lugano, adding Uruguay must ensure they neutralise Brazilian starlet Neymar, who has scored in each game so far at the tournament.