Brazil crashes out of the World Cup and waits to see what happens next | ActionAid UK

The shattering 7-1 defeat of Brazil by Germany in the World Cup was not just a footballing shock – it may also have long-term political and social consequences.

The Favela da Maré slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Favela da Maré slum in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil went into the World Cup as a troubled nation. Many believed the huge cost of the event had not been matched with a much-promised investment in public services. This dissatisfaction sparked mass protests in cities across the nation.

During the tournament itself, those protests disappeared from view, as Brazilians fell back in love with the jogo bonito – the beautiful game. This World Cup has widely been lauded as the best ever.

But that was then and this is now. Brazilians have just witnessed their side being destroyed by Germany in what was immediately labelled as the most humiliating defeat in their footballing history.

Cost of Brazil World Cup estimated to be £6.8 billion

And after the night before comes the morning after – including the £6.8 billion price-tag of staging the event.

How this plays out in Brazilian society will become clear in the months to come. But in a country of stark inequalities where millions live in poverty and face huge social issues, many are predicting social tension.

In the Favela da Maré in Rio, where ActionAid works, people live in a crowded slum in the midst of a struggle for power between well-organised and dangerous drug gangs and the military police.

In the north in Recifé, young girls are at risk of sexual exploitation by workers coming in to build a brand new port.

And in other parts of the country – such as in Pernambuco state where ActionAid works with the Quilombola, descendants of runaway slaves – there are whole communities which lack access to piped water.

The World Cup has crystallised those inequalities and led to mass protest.

But, there is an answer. And that, according to many Brazilians, is for the country to share its billions more equitably by investing in public services.