Some in Brazil felt the money spent on hosting the finals would have been put to better use improving the country's infrastructure, with isolated protests against the government breaking out in the build-up to the tournament.
Demonstrations continued during the first couple of days of the finals, but there has been little sign of any unrest as the showpiece has progressed, with the exciting action on the pitch taking centre stage.
And with Rio de Janeiro - where Sunday's World Cup final will be held - due to host the Olympics in two years' time, Neri believes the World Cup has done a lot to improve the mood in Brazil.
"I think the biggest benefit in terms of the image of the country is that people are happy," he said.
"When people are happy they know how to enjoy their lives. And I think this is good for trade.
"It is an opportunity like you had in England [for the 2012 Olympics].
"[While] we have a huge potential in terms of tourism we don't have as much tourist activities. So there is a big room for improvement.
"And what the Olympic Games and the World Cup provided is a better infrastructure. The airports are getting better and bigger and public transportation [is also improving].
"So we're going to get the benefit of infrastructure but perhaps the biggest benefit is to be better known in all countries."
Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, echoed Neri's comments, saying the World Cup had been a "beautiful" and "amazing" event.
"Legacy is key in the organisation of a World Cup today, maybe it was not the case 20 years ago, but today you cannot organise such mega events such as a World Cup or the Olympic Games without having this kind of legacy," he added.
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