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Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff rejected the "false dilemma" that spending money on the World Cup meant investments in health, education and other public services would be hit.
In a television address ahead of the World Cup starting tomorrow, Ms Rousseff said the country had spent 212 times as much on health and schools than it has on sport arenas.
On the decision to host football's premier competition, she said: "We did this, above all, for Brazilians".
She added that investment in stadiums, airports and other infrastructure would provide the country with long-term benefits and would not "leave in suitcases along with the tourists".
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has defended the decision to host the World Cup, which has been heavily criticised in the country, and said the South American nation was ready for football's premier competition.
Ms Rousseff defended the cost of hosting the competition, vowed to punish corruption and urged compatriots to give visiting fans a warm welcome, in a television address.
The World Cup is set to kick-off tomorrow, with the host nation opening the tournament with their match against Croatia, and the president claimed "the pessimists" had been defeated by the determination of the Brazilian people.
She also rejected criticism that the country had overspent on the World Cup - which is set to cost close to £6.6 billion - saying the tournament would leave a lasting legacy.