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".
More top news
As the story of Downton Abbey begins to wind down its executive producer has offered hope that a follow-up film is at least a possibility.
A Church of England bishop has criticised the PM for his controversial description of migrants seeking to come to the UK as a "swarm".
A senior Labour peer has said rogue peers should be immediately suspended from the House of Lords when scandals break.