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Wyre Davies

Wyre Davies Rio de Janeiro correspondent

My take on the vibrant lives of people across Brazil and wider South America - the most exciting but under-reported region in the world

How Brazil silenced its critics

A general view of the closing ceremony prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13
The closing ceremony marked the end of what some have called the best world cup ever

I will hold my hand up, and so should quite a few others, for perhaps underestimating Brazil's ability to hold what turned out to be an overwhelmingly successful World Cup.

All of those delayed, costly and accident-prone stadiums came good in the end - at least in terms of crowd control, ticketing and the overall match experience. Remember - so far behind schedule were some venues, like the Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo, that no full-scale test event had taken place there before the World Cup kicked off on 12 June.

While the main entry airport for football fans to Brazil, Rio's Galeao, is still a shabby embarrassment of a transport hub, most other regional airports coped well with the vast numbers of flights and fans that came and went.

And then there were the much-anticipated protests. Apart from the nasty, violent scenes in Sao Paulo on opening day, it was clear that the vast majority of Brazilians did not support the notion of anti-government and anti-World Cup protests disrupting the tournament itself.

Overwhelming force

The Brazilian government had made it abundantly clear that protesters would, in no circumstances, be allowed anywhere near the wide exclusion zones they had put up around the stadiums.

Protestors in Rio June 2013
Protesters clashed with police during a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro in June

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Argentina puts faith in its footballing hero

Argentina has certainly seen better days.

The government is in the middle of crisis talks with international creditors to avoid defaulting on debt payments.

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Shock and humiliation in Brazil after German rout

The collective sense of shock, embarrassment and national humiliation across Brazil was impossible to ignore and, to be fair, few people here tried to hide it.

There was no attempt to justify, to make excuses or to create scapegoats. Brazil were routed at one thing that they're best in the world at, or at least used to be.

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For the love of the game called soccer

Some people say you have not really been to Brazil until you have been to Salvador.

It certainly was not on the itinerary of fans following the United States team's progress in this World Cup, who did not expect their team to get this far.

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Brazilian relief masks underlying tensions

Tension of fans watching in Mangueira favela - 28 June
The tension was almost unbearable, with some fans screaming at the TV

Brazil is today breathing a huge, collective sigh of relief after the World Cup favourites scraped into the quarterfinals of the tournament by the skin of their teeth and the thickness of a goal post.

They're putting a brave face on it but everyone in this country of 200 million people knows that, despite the hype and expectation, Chile came very close to kicking the hosts out of their own party.

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England fans accept inevitable World Cup disappointment

A disappointed England fan leaves Arena de Sao Paulo stadium after the defeat against Uruguay (19 June 2014)
Many fans may well be wondering whether the journey to Brazil was worth it

England are not the first team to face imminent exit from the 2014 World Cup but unlike Spain, England's poor showing has been much less of a surprise.

I spoke to several England fans as they trudged out of Sao Paulo's brand-new stadium but rather than anger the overwhelming feeling was resignation at the inevitable disappointment.

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Has Brazil proved World Cup doubters wrong?

Decorations in Manaus street
The streets of Manaus are decorated in celebration of the World Cup

So far, so good.

The football has been entertaining and, at times, world class.

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Rio base: Big mistake for England?

For what it's worth, I think the England football team may have made a pretty big mistake by choosing Rio de Janeiro as their World Cup base - more specifically the particular part of Rio where they're hoping to spend most of the next month.

Initially, you can see the sense behind the choice of what some locals here know as the "cidade maravilhosa" - the "marvellous city".

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Getting to know Dilma over dinner

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the Alvorada Palace in 2012
President Dilma Rousseff will stand for re-election in October

She loves British television costume dramas and longs for the ordinariness of a "normal" life. She's also proud to show guests around the place she calls home - surely one of the finest buildings ever designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer - and even admits to once riding around Brasilia on the back of a friend's moped for an hour because she had the urge.

Dilma Rousseff is also very defensive and passionate about how Brazil has organised and prepared for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

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Brazil child sex trade alarm as World Cup nears

Joana Maranhao is, by anybody's reckoning, a remarkable young woman.

She is a world-class swimmer who represented Brazil at three consecutive Olympic Games and is one of the country's most successful and prominent female athletes.

Joana Maranhao
Joana Maranhao has founded the campaign group Infancia Livre

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About Wyre

As the BBC's first correspondent to be based in Rio de Janeiro, Wyre has come full circle. He lived in Brazil as a child and took his degree in Latin American studies. His first foreign posting for the BBC was the Chilean capital Santiago in the mid-1990s where he covered events in Spanish-speaking South America.

Subsequent stints as the correspondent in Wales and then the Middle East have seen him cover everything from football and rugby world cups, to political scandals and the Arab uprisings. There have been far too many close shaves and lost friends along the way, but there have also been moments of levity and the unfathomable privilege of roaming the world reporting for the BBC.

A passionate Welshman, supported by his constant travelling companions - a wonderful wife and four children - Wyre now faces the daunting task of covering not only one of the most iconic cities on earth, but also the emerging political and economic superpower of Brazil, as well as pretty much anything else of interest between the Darien Gap and the Straits of Magellan.

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