Did the protests signal a new political maturity, with spectacular events no longer hiding the country's institutional inadequacies? Had the Brazilian giant woken up from dreams of success on the soccer pitch to the realities of "serious" political issues?
From any angle you look at it, there is no denial that the World Cup in Brazil is making history. As expected, Brazilians cannot talk about anything else -- they are either following the quite exciting games or the protests that are happening all over the country.
It's always a good time when one of these national soccer teams are playing. Watch the World Cup with these fantastic fans, ideally in their home country. From Brazil's wild, samba-dancing bunch to Germany's "fan mile," we track down the nations that take World Cup partying very seriously.
While World Cup propaganda attempts to unify the Brazilian nation under the flag of the "national religion" of futebol, this reinforced national unity consists of the same forces of gendered racism and inequality that continue to separate Brazil.
The soccer gods must be smiling down on World Cup 2014, with bright, sparkling contests, a cascade of wicked goals, and a dash of controversy.
To many people, and certainly to FIFA and the IOC, sporting concerns do not, or at least should not, overlap with political ones. This viewpoint is troubling because it downplays the social price of sports.
A number of the world's religious leaders addressed letters of greeting, and the thoughts they expressed are interesting to contemplate in parallel with the excitement on the field of play.
Monday, the U.S. team plays their first game against Ghana. If they win, or if they advance beyond group stage again, MLS and soccer in general will make great strides.
I hope that, as all sports should, it can be a means to the end. I hope, as the Pope said, that it can be a means to the end of genuine solidarity, a solidarity that recognizes that a soccer pitch shouldn't be the only level playing field.
As a result of Snowden's disclosures, U.S. companies have been wrongly suffering commercial reprisals by some governments. Conflating the acts of the NSA with other agencies has also potentially harmed legitimate government activities.
So while the 2014 World Cup is going to be bigger than ever -- it's shaping up to be the most watched, most lucrative and expensive tournament in soccer history -- it's also going to be one of the biggest energy-consuming, greenhouse gas-spewing World Cups in history.
There are many lessons from the World Cup and these great athletes that can be copied to run a more successful business.
To the human eye, without the benefit of replay, it's easy to be conned by players simulating being fouled. Sorry, simulation, you ask? Okay, let's call it what it is -- cheating!
For the sake of Dilma's political ambitions later this year, Brazil's luck had better continue. Voters will head to the polls on October 5 to decide whether she deserves another term in office, and a poor showing on the international stage could hurt her chances.
What the world is seeing in Brazil are protesters who are acting out of the impulse that built Brazil's democracy out of dictatorship, often being confronted by police whose tactics and training are holdovers from military rule.
The world is watching to see if Brazil can win the World Cup on their home turf. There are many reasons to watch this sporting event but here are a few.