World

Brazil's upside-down World Cup: Failure at soccer, success in organization

  • Argentina fans cheer for their team during the final World Cup match between Argentina and Germany at the at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    Argentina fans cheer for their team during the final World Cup match between Argentina and Germany at the at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Soccer fans watch the final World Cup match between Argentina and Germany at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    Soccer fans watch the final World Cup match between Argentina and Germany at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil's Maxwell, left, and Netherlands' Dirk Kuyt go for a header during the World Cup third-place soccer match between Brazil and the Netherlands at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    Brazil's Maxwell, left, and Netherlands' Dirk Kuyt go for a header during the World Cup third-place soccer match between Brazil and the Netherlands at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)  (The Associated Press)

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."