Brazil's upside-down Cup: Bad on field, good off - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Brazil's upside-down Cup: Bad on field, good off

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Adriana Lorete-Agencia o Globo). A fireworks display is seen over the Maracana stadium after the soccer World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Adriana Lorete-Agencia o Globo). A fireworks display is seen over the Maracana stadium after the soccer World Cup final match between Argentina and Germany, 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). 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). 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/Silvia Izquierdo) (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
(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). 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.
By BRADLEY BROOKS
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - For Brazil, it was the upside-down World Cup.

Brazilians lost at what they were certain they would win - soccer - and won where so many expected failure - organization.

For years, the country's government has endured grueling criticism from FIFA over severely delayed stadiums. Leaders rode out a wave of protests last year over billions spent on the tournament despite poor public services. Foreign tabloids warned fans of man-eating snakes and violence, while domestic newspapers grilled officials over every imaginable aspect of Cup preparations.

Many serious doubts remain: about corruption related to World Cup works; whether the country will see economic benefits from hosting the games; and whether dozens of infrastructure projects promised as the biggest legacy of the event will ever be completed.

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

"I think it's been awesome," said Scott Zapczysky, a 39-year-old jiu jitsu instructor from Michigan, as he took in the final match at the Fan Fest on Copacabana beach Sunday night. "I thought it was going to be an enormous disaster, to be honest. But it looks good. I think people are really happy."

Brazilians would disagree with him on one point: They were crushed by their team's historic 7-1 loss in the semifinals, followed by a 3-0 drubbing in the consolation game.

Still, President Dilma Rousseff took clear delight in the Cup's success, and in handing her critics a plate of humble pie.

Speaking to a group of foreign journalists on the eve of the tournament's close, she said she had never seen an event that faced such intense scrutiny.

"Well," she said, "we've eliminated the doubts of all who didn't believe in us."

Rousseff also said the success of the Cup gives the country confidence in its ability to pull off its next mega-event, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

For Eliane Cantanhede, a Brazilian political commentator known for penetratingly humorous observations in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, the event "truly surprised everybody."

"The whole world thought the Cup would be full of problems - and it was a success," she said. "And everybody thought that Brazil's team would win the Cup - and it was a disaster. It was a double surprise!"

Cantanhede noted that Brazil under Rousseff has been less assertive in world affairs than it was under former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who used his natural showmanship to project an image of Brazil as a confident, on-the-rise nation.

"But with the Cup, Brazil has recuperated quite a bit of its positive image," Cantanhede said. "The world has seen beautiful stadiums and cities, airports that worked well and the warmth of the Brazilian people."

Brazil was helped by foreign fans arriving with a spirit of adventure. Nobody expected to see the sort of comforts or precise organization seen at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. And to be sure, there were problems.

Traffic jams plagued cities like Rio and Sao Paulo each time a match was played. Airports, while efficient in moving hundreds of thousands of fans around 12 host cities, lacked the creature comforts Europeans or North Americans are used to. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and muggings were often a complaint.

But there were no mass protests like those witnessed during last year's Confederations Cup, the World Cup's warm-up soccer tournament. Strikes by public transport workers and police that many feared would hurt the event were resolved in the days before the tournament began. The stadiums held up well despite some concerns about their structural safety.

What's left now is for Brazilians themselves to decide if the $13.5 billion spent in preparations was worth it.

"I'm still upset. There was so much spending to build world-class stadiums while our hospitals and schools remain a mess," said Laeste de Santana, a 50-year-old barber in Rio. "These problems won't go away because of the Cup. These are things that we Brazilians still have to live with once the tournament is over."

But Rio taxi driver Paulo Oliveira saw the Cup in a more positive light.

"It was a beautiful event. We showed the world the true Brazilian tradition of opening our arms open wide for foreign visitors and embracing them with our joy and warmth," he said. "Our country has really advanced in the last 10 years. We've still got a lot of problems, of course, primarily with infrastructure and poverty, and visitors saw that. But in my cab, at least, during the past month all I saw were gringos with smiling faces."

___

Associated Press writer Jenny Barchfield contributed to this report.

___

Bradley Brooks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bradleybrooks

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

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:48:06 GMT
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
  • Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:47 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:47:36 GMT
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
  • Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-07-16 15:02:02 GMT
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices