It should be remembered that Brazil broke many of its World Cup promises. When the country was awarded hosting rights in 2007, politicians vowed that $8 billion would be spent on 56 construction projects, including new airports, subway lines and other infrastructure. Fewer than 10 were completed in time for the tournament. Among those delayed was a road overpass in the host city of Belo Horizonte, which collapsed during the World Cup killing two people.
The sometimes rickety existing metro systems in the biggest cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro did hold up, however, carrying supporters to stadiums without any major problems. The roads all over were often clogged but that's an old Brazilian issue and fans just learned to give themselves more time to get to those games.
THE FAN EXPERIENCE:
Unique. On those days when their team wasn't playing, football followers could explore the huge metropolis of Sao Paulo with its 20 million-plus inhabitants, the golden beaches of Rio de Janeiro or the jungles of the Amazon host city of Manaus in the far north. Many did all of them over the four weeks and still had the energy for the late-night bars and restaurants and their delicious but lethal Caipirinha sugar cane cocktails. Visitors did complain about muggings and credit card fraud, though. Some tourists may have also been surprised by the prices. A great experience, but not always a cheap one.
JUST ONE THING: WHERE WAS PELE?
You can't say football, World Cup or Brazil without also saying Pele, the greatest player that's lived and the country's favorite son. And yet the three-time World Cup winner was a rare sight at the first showcase on his home soil in 64 years, the first since the great man was a nine-year-old kid dreaming of playing at football's main event.
The star of the show for the closing ceremony should have been an obvious choice. Instead, organizers chose Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen to accompany former Spain international Carles Puyol in bringing the gold trophy out onto the field at the Maracana for the final. It should have been Pele, who has lifted the World Cup more times than anyone else and is probably the biggest reason why Brazil is the spiritual home of football.
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