Brazil's 3-0 win Spain in the Confederations Cup final brought to an end an event that was designed as a test run for the 2014 World Cup hosts.
It was a tournament that was permeated by social unrest, with protesters partly unhappy that over the level of public money devoted to staging of the World Cup.
CNN looks about what we learned from the event.
1. Neymar is the real deal
Neymar has been touted as the latest in a line of Brazilian superstars that stretches all the way back to the great Pele, but outside Brazil many were beginning to believe the hype surrounding the young star was just that.
Prior to the Confederations Cup his performances for the national team had been lacklustre, particular in the 2-2 draw against Chile in April, when he was singled out for jeers by Brazil's own fans.
While most would argue that he's in no position to judge, Marseille midfielder Joey Barton's Tweet likening Neymar to Justin Bieber, and something rather unpleasant relating to cats, seemed to sum up the views of many European observers.
Following the Brazilian's $75 million transfer to Barcelona -- just before the tournament kicked off -- some were even suggesting the Catalan club had been fleeced by Brazilian side Santos.
Not any more: this was no tantalizing glimpse of what La Liga fans might be watching next season, it was incontrovertible proof of what Neymar can bring.
The 21-year-old produced a string of vibrant, flamboyant, but above all effective performances throughout the tournament, his goals and guile serving notice that he is every inch a superstar.
2. Time may be up for Buffon and company
After winning friends at Euro 2012, the Azzurri continued to show that the days of "catenaccio" are long gone, with some fast attacking football.
Italy's run in the tournament was certainly invigorating, lurching from near disaster in an extraordinary first-half capitulation against Japan, to a sublime (albeit goalless) first-half domination of Spain.
In the end they were well worth their third place, but it could and possibly should have been more.
Gianluigi Buffon is widely and justifiably regarded as one of the world's finest goalkeepers; yet his penalty saves in the third place play-off against Uruguay masked his culpability in goals conceded at key moments in the tournament.
This was not the dominant, steely-eyed Buffon of old -- particularly against Brazil, where he looked anything but solid.
Likewise, there are other old hands whose time in the famous blue shirt may be nearing its end.
Given Cesare Prandelli's reluctance to start AC Milan's exciting midfielder Stephan El Shaarawy, major surgery is unlikely.
The Italian national side has always been resistant to change, as its ageing spine suggests, but it may need to pick up the pace of its evolution.
The likes of Buffon and the peerless Andrea Pirlo may have one more big tournament in them, but Prandelli would do well to blood some fresh talent in the meantime, just in case -- especially given the physical demands next year's World Cup will present.
3. Protests are a wake-up call to FIFA and Brazil
For a country that is synonymous with football, there were times during this tournament when Brazil seemed to have fallen well and truly out of love with the game -- or at least, with FIFA and the Brazilian government's interpretation of what a World Cup should look like.
As simmering social unrest threatened to boil into something more serious, the tournament's detractors grew in volume and number.
Even former star striker Romario joined a critical chorus that cited ticket prices, infrastructure costs and a questionable legacy as reasons why the Confederations Cup, and next year's World Cup, were bad for Brazil.
In anticipation of trouble, a reported 10,000 police were on duty in Rio de Janeiro ahead of Brazil's clash with Spain, but in the end protests were relatively low-key.