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The best World Cup ever ... or the worst?

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With the World Cup wrapping up at Rio's legendary Maracaña stadium Sunday afternoon, many are already asking if this has been the best World Cup ever. (Via Getty Images)

It's the ubiquitous question, gracing the headlines of publications from Forbes, to The Guardian and The Atlantic, as pundits try to find Brazil 2014 a place in the World Cup pantheon. 

Those outlets point to the exciting matches, underdog stories and huge goal tally — a whopping 170 goals total — as some of the reasons the tournament could be considered the greatest of all time. (Via Getty Images)

There was certainly plenty of drama. Who could forget Luis Suarez biting a player, or Brazil's star player Neymar getting injured before the semifinal against Germany?

And American fans took to the game like never before, with the U.S.'s thrilling 2-2 draw against Portugal attracting a record-smashing 25 million viewers. (Via The New York Times)

A recent survey by the BBC showed just how big a hit Brazil has been. Almost 40 percent of responders named Brazil's tournament as the best ever — that's more than the next four top choices combined. 

But there is one group of fans for whom this will go down as the worst ever World Cup: the hosts themselves.

Brazil suffered its biggest ever World Cup defeat at the hands of Germany: a humiliating 7-1 thrashing that, for some of the proudest fans in soccer, has eclipsed 1950's home defeat in the final against Uruguay. (ViaGetty Images)

The Brazilian press were quick to condemn everyone involved, with newspapers telling Brazil manager Felipe Sclorai to "go to hell!" and calling the tournament an $11 billion waste. (Via Youtube / roosvelt1984)

In the lead-up to the World Cup, and last year's Confederation Cup, there were widespread protests against what many Brazilians saw as wasteful spending. (Via VICE)

Bloomberg reports corruption is largely to blame for stadium construction and other preparation going more than $1 billion over-budget. 

​And one superlative that's pretty indisputable, as CNBC points out: Brazil 2014 is the most expensive World Cup in history, with costs totaling around $11 billion. 

The anti-World Cup sentiment projected in those protests was largely cooled by the excitement of the games themselves. Now that excitement's gone, some say there could be political consequences. (ViaYoutube / Ben Tavener)

As Vox reports, Brazil's presidential elections are coming up in October. And while incumbent Dilma Rousseff is still the front-runner, unhappy voters tend to vote against incumbents.

And Foreign Policy reports Brazil's losses have possibly sparked something bigger, writing, "Now the beautiful game is at the center of an agonized national rethink, a mass, middle-class movement against outdated infrastructure and failing services."

One final insult for Brazil: watching their biggest rivals Argentina play in their most revered stadium. 

Photos: 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

2014 World Cup schedule

The 2014 World Cup tournament opened June 12 in Sao Paulo and ends July 13 with the championship game in Rio de Janeiro. All 64 games air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  (All times Eastern)FIRST ROUNDTHURSDAY, JUNE 12Brazil 3, Croatia 1

FRIDAY, JUNE 13Mexico 1, Cameroon 0Netherlands 5, Spain 1Chile 3, Australia 1

SATURDAY, JUNE 14Colombia 3, Greece 0Costa Rica 3, Uruguay 1Italy 2, England 1Ivory Coast 2, Japan 1

SUNDAY, JUNE 15Switzerland 2, Ecuador 1France 3, Honduras 0Argentina 2, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1

MONDAY, JUNE 16Germany 4, Portugal 0Nigeria 0, Iran 0United States 2, Ghana 1

TUESDAY, JUNE 17Belgium 2, Algeria 1Brazil 0, Mexico 0Russia 1, South Korea 1

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18Netherlands 3, Australia 2Chile 2, Spain 0Croatia 4, Cameroon 0

THURSDAY, JUNE 19Colombia 2, Ivory Coast 1Uruguay 2, England 1Japan 0, Greece 0

FRIDAY, JUNE 20Costa Rica 1, Italy 0France 5, Switzerland 2Ecuador 2, Honduras 1

SATURDAY, JUNE 21Argentina 1, Iran 0Germany 2, Ghana 2Nigeria 1, Bosnia Herzegovina 0

SUNDAY, JUNE 22Belgium 1, Russia 0Algeria 4, South Korea 2United States 2, Portugal 2

MONDAY, JUNE 23Netherlands 2, Chile 0Spain 3, Australia 0Mexico 3, Croatia 1Brazil 4, Cameroon 1TUESDAY, JUNE 24Uruguay 1, Italy 0Costa Rica 0, England 0Colombia 4, Japan 1Greece 2,Ivory Coast 1WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25Argentina 3, Nigeria 2Bosnia Herzegovina 3, Iran 1Ecuador 0, France 0Switzerland 3, Honduras 0THURSDAY, JUNE 26Germany 1, United States 0Portugal 1, Ghana 1Belgium 1, South Korea 0Algeria 1, Russia 1

SECOND ROUNDSATURDAY, JUNE 28Brazil 1 (3), Chile 1 (2)Colombia 2, Uruguay 0 

SUNDAY, JUNE 29Netherlands 2, Mexico 1Costa Rica 1 (5), Greece 1 (3) 

MONDAY, JUNE 30France 2, Nigeria 0Germany 2, Algeria 1

TUESDAY, JULY 1Argentina 1, Switzerland 0 Belgium 2, United States 1

QUARTERFINALSFRIDAY, JULY 4Germany 1, France 0Brazil 2, Colombia 1

 SATURDAY, JULY 5Argentina 1, Belgium 0Netherlands 0 (4), Costa Rica 0 (3)


WEDNESDAY, JULY 9Argentina 0 (4), Netherlands 0 (2)

THIRD PLACE GAMESATURDAY, JULY 12Brazil 0, Netherlands 3


Brazil's World Cup loss was most statistically painful ever

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Even if you picked Germany to beat Brazil in Tuesday's World Cup semifinal match, there's no way you saw this coming. (Via Getty Images)

"It's Brazil's worst loss ever and the most goals ever allowed by a host nation." (Via MSNBC)

"I'm trying to think of a parallel in sports, doing this to Brazil, and I can't think of another one." (Via ESPN)

>> Special Section: 2014 FIFA World Cup

It was a match that made the words "national embarrassment" an understatement. And if you were on Twitter, you've probably already seen your share of photos of sad Brazilians. But they had every right to be sad — and shocked.

After all, Brazil was the favorite to win the match and even the whole World Cup on prediction sites like FiveThirtyEight, which put Brazil's chances for a win Tuesday at 65 percent. Oh, and the odds of Germany going up even five goals on Brazil were a whopping 1 in 1,250.

As far as FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver could tell, the 7-1 finish was the single most unexpected World Cup score in history. (Via Twitter / @NateSilver538)

But stats aside, what truly made Brazil's loss painful — and historic — was that it happened in Brazil. 

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Before Tuesday, the country's national team had not lost a competitive non-friendly match on home turf since 1975. That's a 39-year streak spanning 68 games. (Via USA Today)

And although comparing sporting sorrow is purely subjective, Tuesday's loss seems even more devastating than Brazil's infamous loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final, also hosted by Brazil. That defeat came 2-1, not 7-1. (Via The Guardian)

Tim Howard's performance has the Internet going crazy

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe> <script src="//;border=false"></script> [View the story "Memes: Tim Howard's performance last night has people on the Internet going crazy" on Storify]

Photos: U.S takes on Belgium in World Cup

Dad allows son to kick a soccer ball at his head daily during World Cup

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In true World Cup spirit, Denis Todd allowed son Shane to kick a football once a day, everyday, until he could land the football on Denis’ head.

Watch Shane record his attempts, even using his younger brother for a bit of target practice, before finally scoring the head-shot on day nine.

"During the football World Cup my dad let me try and hit him on the head with a football in the garden, I don't really know why," Shane told the Belfast Telegraph.

The Todds live in Holywood, Northern Ireland. Shane, 25, is a stand-up comedian, while Denis is a former motorcycle racer who once broke more than 30 bones in an accident.

>> Read more World Cup coverage

Waffle House believes in U.S. team -- not 'Belgium Waffles'

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Waffle House doesn't serve Belgian waffles and certainly won't start now.

The Georgia-based restaurant chain took to its Twitter account Monday to proclaim, "We don't believe in Belgium waffles." Or Belgian waffles, as a follower quickly corrected. But the sentiment, a riff on American fans' "I believe that we will win" chant," was popular a day before the U.S. faces Belgium in the World Cup.

Restaurant spokeswoman Meghan Irwin says it's all in good fun. Earlier, when a follower asked for the restaurant's opinion on Belgian waffles, it tweeted: "We dominate them."

Waffle House serves American-style waffles. Belgian waffles are bigger with a lighter batter.

In Belgium, waffles have been a part of the diet for centuries. But so-called Belgian waffles aren't really served in that country. There are Brussels waffles and Liege waffles.

Video: Dog loves to watch World Cup action

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If Georges can’t turn you into a soccer fan, then nothing can. While there has been a lot of buzz about the growing number of Americans passionate about the world’s favorite sport, one important group has been overlooked during the World Cup. Dogs. Let’s face it, if any sport was designed to interest canines, it would be soccer. A ball rolling around a field for 90 minutes? Dogs the world over are drooling and panting for more. Georges is one such dog. As the YouTube video demonstrates, he gets very excited every time the ball is shown on the screen and when it is being kicked around the field. He shows little interest when there is a close-up of a player—unless said player has a ball in his hand.

His owner says that Georges will watch soccer for hours, but doesn’t care which teams wins or loses. Just keep that ball moving.

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