Brazil’s World Cup Exit: Worse Than 1950 Trauma? Page 2

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Hundreds of thousands of people had held protests last year during the Confederations Cup, denouncing the record $11 billion spent on the World Cup and demanding the money be spent on better hospitals and schools instead.

There were a few protests that attracted small crowds during the World Cup, though after Tuesday’s defeat some fans wondered whether hosting the tournament had been worth the cost.

Although the Selecao lost, the tournament itself can be considered a success, with fears of chaos never materializing despite delays in the construction of stadiums, experts said. And the games were full of surprises, upsets and goals.

Soccer's History From Cuju to FIFA

“This World Cup has been a real gift for Brazil,” said Pedro Trengrouse, a United Nations consultant for the tournament.

Coping with defeat

While the low point for fans was seeing the Selecao’s horrific defeat, experts say Brazilians now know how to cope with both triumphs and disappointments.

“There have been many cups since 1950. There were victories and defeats. Everybody is used to this,” said Lamartine da Costa, a sports management expert at Rio de Janeiro State University.

“The Maracanazo was something that was never repeated. It was unprecedented,” he said.

Costa said the continent-sized country was much more isolated in 1950.

“This isolation created an inward-looking culture. Brazilians don’t understand others very well. The same thing happens with other large countries like the United States, Russia or China.

“There is an unrealistic feeling of power and surprises come when things you expect don’t happen. One of the theories is that’s what happened in 1950,” he said.

World Cup: How to Bend It Like Beckham

Today, Brazil is the world’s seventh biggest economy and 40 million of its people were lifted out of poverty in the past decade.

They demand more prosperity and better quality of life, but football is no longer their only passion.

And Brazilians relate less with their millionaire stars, who play mostly across the world in Europe.

“Before, the players represented a football closer to amateurism,” Costa said. “Their behavior was exemplary, representing the values of the homeland and the love of football.”