Once the euphoria passes, and Fifa's officials return home, the issues that sparked unrest will remain
Mood changes do not come much more dramatic than the shift within two hours and four blocks near the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night.
Inside that small window, one neighbourhood was choked with angry protests, clouds of teargas and volleys of rubber bullets, while a short walk away joyful crowds sang, danced and exploded in celebration at Brazil's victory in the Confederations Cup final.
It was an odd sensation strolling from one to the other, past recently fired cartridges and fallen placards to garage forecourt TV screens where locals and police stared up together at the events on the pitch, in reality only a stone's throw or two away.
But it also brought home the contrast between the local street and the global stadium, which has been at the heart of the remarkable events in Brazil over the past two weeks as a series of largely spontaneous, somewhat inchoate but often huge demonstrations have coincided with and overshadowed Fifa's tournament.
On one side was radical activism designed to change Brazil from the ground up. On the other was a passive consumerism geared to maintaining the status quo. For much of the watching world, the contest between these competing views has been far more engrossing than anything on the pitch.
It was not a matter of who won or lost on the streets. On Sunday night, that was never in doubt.
The demonstration of 3,000-5,000 people was one of the smallest of recent weeks, yet police made their biggest deployment yet, of 6,000 personnel, as well as an armoured personnel carrier, helicopters, horses and dogs. As a result, the clash between the two was more one-sided than the game, which Brazil won against Spain by a comfortable 3-0 margin.
At least one policeman was injured and the Guardian saw another with his leg aflame after what looked like a Molotov cocktail exploded beside him. Despite this, the protesters never looked like getting inside the stadium perimeter.
But in the more important campaign for public opinion and policy change, the protesters have notched up impressive victories. Onlookers cheered from the windows of their apartment blocks as the march went through their streets on Sunday night. Polls show the vast majority of Brazilians support the protesters, while the president, Dilma Rousseff, has suffered the sharpest fall in popularity of any leader in the country's history.
The state governments and the national legislature have been forced into several concessions. Rio and São Paulo have made U-turns on planned bus fare rises that sparked the protests. Rousseff has promised a referendum on political reform, stricter punishment for corruption and more money for healthcare, education and public transport. The national congress has backed down on a proposed bill that would have weakened the public minister's ability to investigate political wrongdoing and, for the first time since 1988 a sitting congressman has been convicted (though, astonishingly, another third of the members in the chambers are still on trial.)
For many of the protesters on Sunday, there is more work to be done. High among the range of issues was the media dominance of the Globo group (whose journalists were chased away from demonstrations by an irate mob), inefficient use of public funds, forced relocations linked to Olympic real estate developments, the treatment of indigenous groups, dire inequality and excessive use of force by police in favela communities.
"We often see military police violence in the slums," said a woman from the Babylonia complex who gave only the name Rachel because she said she feared repercussions. She and her friends had dressed up as blood-soaked corpses. "We want to show what the police do. Although our slum is now pacified, the police killed residents when they moved in," she said.
Although clashes once again grabbed the headlines during the evening march, an earlier, similar-sized protest against forced relocations and the privatisation of the Maracanã passed in a peaceful, festive mood.
The match also ended with euphoric scenes, not just in the stadium but among TV spectators a few blocks away from the demonstrations outside. Street gatherings erupted as Neymar and Fred scored, David Luiz cleared off the line, and the final whistle blew.
The result stirs up hopes that the Brazilian squad may have shed its lacklustre recent form and found fresh dynamism and a new winning formula. The same cannot yet be said of the political world, though the football team's manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, said a Confederations Cup victory may help to unite the nation.
That remains to be seen, but there may at least be a respite. As fans and football officials filed out of the Maracanã, there was no longer any echo from percussion grenades, no whiff of teargas and no sign of the placards that had been held high two hours earlier stating "Fifa Go Home!"
Fifa's executives will do just that in the coming days, no doubt to the relief of many in Brazil's government.
With less going on in the stadiums, protesters may find it harder to make things happen on the street. But some say this is just the start.
"There are too many reasons for being here," said Tiago Menez, a student on Sunday's march, who expects to see more protests in the runup to next year's World Cup. "We cannot stop discussing politics so these demonstrations will continue."