RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil--
The soccer-mad nation of Brazil rejoiced after receiving the newly established Most Congenial Nation award from the FIFA governing body, this despite an epically humiliating 7-1 loss to eventual World Cup champions Germany in the Semi-Finals and a turgid 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the third-place play-offs.
"This is the silver lining in the dark cloud for an entire nation," said Brazil's coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, after unanimously receiving the Most Congenial Nation award--a gold-plated statue of a tearful young boy holding a soccer ball while making a thumbs-up motion. A beaming Scolari then hoisted the statue triumphantly in the air, striking the same thumbs-up pose.
Scolari said the award for congeniality more than compensates for the news that he was just informed by Brazilian FA officials that his services as coach would no longer be required.
This was the first time Brazil has served as host nation for the World Cup since 1950, when the Brazilians then suffered a devastating 2-1 loss to their hated South American rivals Uruguay.
Expectations were high that Brazil, winner of five World Cup titles, would go on to add another title at this year's competition.
Instead, the young Brazilian squad was roundly criticized by many throughout the tournament, including former Brazilian World Cup champion players, for their erratic style of play and for being far too emotional. Indeed, several team members were seen crying during the national anthem and after penalty kicks following mostly lackluster performances.
Team Captain Thiago Silver dismissed criticism of his team's overall dismal performance and occasional juvenile outbursts, focusing instead on the positive.
"Yes, we are an emotional team. Soccer is all about emotion. That is why the Most Congenial Nation award is so special," said Silva. "Wherever I go in life, I know that despite suffering the most monumentally crushing defeat in our nation's history, I can hold my head up high and say, 'at least we were congenial,'" the young captain added, daubing a tear from his swollen eyes.
Indeed, many in the soccer-crazed nation of over 202 million said the Most Congenial Nation award was a necessary first step in a long healing process.
"Sure, winning another World Cup title would have been nice," admitted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. "But who can claim to be chosen most congenial among nations? Surely not the Columbians. Only we Brazilians."
Rousseff added that the Ministry of Tourism is now considering a new travel campaign promoting Brazil as "The Most Congenial Nation."