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

APTOPIX Brazil WCup-1.jpg

Christ the Redeemer statue is lit with the Argentina team's colors as part of soccer the World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Argentina will face Germany for the final match of the world tournament. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) (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."