National embarrassment never materialised off the pitch, but on it Brazilian football needs urgent revolution.

The losing World Cup teams and fans are licking their wounds while Germany will celebrate for at least four years. However, the world has already started to ask whether the tournament's legacies were positive and will endure in Brazil.

In the months before the World Cup, there was a prevailing impression that the tournament's organisation would be an utter failure -- stadiums would not be ready and public transport would not be able to cope. As the tournament approached, fears of a major international embarrassment spread across Brazil.

But the embarrassment never materialised. It was not a perfect tournament but overall the organisation was successful by any measure. The great party atmosphere, high quality of football, astonishing number of goals and massive and convivial presence of supporters from around the world all contributed.

This success is not only a blessing for Brazilians' self-esteem, but also for their Government. The elections in October will fast replace the World Cup in media headlines and conversations across the country.


International media outlets have already begun to speculate that Brazil's crushing semifinal defeat to Germany will hurt President Dilma Rousseff in her pursuit of re-election.

With no evidence to support their arguments, these commentators seem to base their opinions on the view that Brazilians are passionate and irrational football lovers who are not able to differentiate between their beloved national team and the destiny of their country.

However, the recent history of Brazil's presidential elections suggests otherwise.

Brazil's failure to win the Cup on home soil has additional importance for the elections. Rousseff's opposition has already begun to use the hosts' semifinal drubbing as political leverage. The major opposition party claimed the lack of planning that could be seen in the Brazilian team mirrors the way Brazil is being governed.

This is a very risky political strategy. Brazilians are hurt and upset by the devastating loss against Germany, but they love the national side. And as history shows, Brazilians are independent and clever enough to distinguish between football and politics.

Other political legacies emerged during the tournament. The federal government reportedly spent nearly £500 million ($971 million) on policing to suppress potential disturbances.

In a period when Brazil is still searching for the truth about the dictatorship period, the heavy hand imposed on demonstrators and anti-World Cup activists was a clear undemocratic throwback.

The concern over forced relocations also cannot be forgotten. The vulnerable people who were removed from their houses have the right not only to receive a new house, but also to be consulted on where they want to live.

So far, this is the major negative legacy of the World Cup, one that has to be remembered until the right solutions are found.

Finally, the impact the World Cup will have on Brazil's football culture cannot be underestimated. There will be a few white elephant stadiums -- such as Cuiaba's Arena Pantanal -- built for the World Cup that will be unable to attract enough supporters to sustain them.

Brazilians will also return to the reality of their own national league, which may not look too attractive. In 2013, it had an average attendance of under 15,000, with matches often played at 10pm on weekdays at the insistence of the country's major football broadcaster.

Brazilians will also complain about the quality of the football. Brazil's better players play overseas, an issue that even the growing economy and good wages for top division players cannot solve.

The shocking semifinal defeat will certainly leave a perennial blot on Brazil's football culture and history. The failures in the side's preparation and in the entire structure of the Brazilian Football Federation must be scrutinised.

Brazilian football, as a central element of the country's culture, needs urgent political and technical revolution. But will this revolution be one of the most important political and cultural legacies of what's described by many as the best World Cup ever?

Jorge Knijnik is a senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and Ramon Spaaij is an associate professor at Victoria University.