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After World Cup, Brazil Returns To Normal - What A Shame!

Can Brazil apply the successful “Copa template” to everyday life and political leadership? Too often, the country tends to disappoint when the rest of the world isn't watching.

Brazil fans watch the World Cup quarterfinal match between Brazil and Colombia in Sao Paulo, on July 4, 2014.
Brazil fans watch the World Cup quarterfinal match between Brazil and Colombia in Sao Paulo, on July 4, 2014.
Valdo Cruz

-OpEd-

BRASILIA — The World Cup is over, and with it our dream of being World Champions for a sixth time is deferred again, this time at home. Germany’s victory yesterday against Argentina came as a reward for their superb planning, and the best team of the competition were crowned.

Starting today, life in Brazil resumes its normal course.

But I would rather it was the exact opposite. I prefer the abnormality of the Copa, which should be our natural state and which, for some areas of society and for some people, is indeed the norm.

For 32 days, Brazil delighted both foreigners and Brazilians alike. Everything ran so much more smoothly than usual, from the airports and general security to the stadiums and the reception, all in a rhythm that left nothing to be desired.

Of course, there were incidents. An overpass bridge collapsed, killing two people. There were also a few security glitches like long waiting lines to access some stadiums but generally speaking, outside the pitch, the country won with style.

This means that when we put our minds to it and when we need to, we can do things well. We have been a good host, one that repainted its house, refurbished the guest room and stocked up the fridge before the visit of a long awaited guest it hopes will come back soon.

Which brings us to this question: Why can't we keep the house nice and tidy for those who live here every day as well, and not just for occasional visitors? How about treating our own neighbors in the same manner that so delighted foreign tourists?

Similarly, why wouldn’t our political rulers show every single day the same dedication to Brazil’s public services as they did during the World Cup to tell the world that, yes, we are a capable nation?

This is Brazil’s next challenge: Turn the “Copa template” we lived by these past few weeks into something normal, a symbol for every Brazilian, and be done with solutions par excellence that are only applied during exceptional events.

For that, we need to learn from our mistakes. Let us not be drunk on our momentary success. In the end it all worked well, but we should remember that the road to get there was long, painful and chaotic.

The fatal bridge collapse in Belo Horizonte should be remembered as a negative example of what happens when things are done in a rush. For the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, everything ought to be accomplished with more planning and less drama. It's also the lesson for every day.

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