July 14, 2014 11:12 am

Brazil’s bizarro World Cup: Failure at soccer, success in organization

A dejected David Luiz of Brazil walks off the pitch after a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Third Place Playoff match between Brazil and the Netherlands at Estadio Nacional on July 12, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – For Brazil, it was the upside-down World Cup.

Brazilians lost at soccer which they were certain they would win. And they won where so many expected failure – organization.

For years, the country’s government has endured criticism over delayed stadiums and protests over heavy spending on a sports tournament despite poor public services. Foreign tabloids warned visitors of man-eating snakes.

Many serious doubts remain about how much Brazil will benefit from the Cup.

But there is no question that the goal of giving the world a smoothly run, exuberant sporting spectacle surpassed all expectations.

President Dilma Rousseff took clear delight in the Cup’s success, and in handing her critics a plate of humble pie, saying Brazil has “eliminated the doubts of all who didn’t believe in us.”

© The Associated Press, 2014

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