(CNN) -

Never in her worst nightmares did Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff imagine such a crushing soccer defeat, she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

"My nightmares never got so bad, Christiane," she said through an interpreter. "They never went that far. As a supporter, of course, I am deeply sorry because I share the same sorrow of all supporters. But I also know that we are a country that has one very peculiar feature. We rise to the challenge of adversity."

Brazil, she said, will recover from this "extremely painful situation."

"Being able to overcome defeat I think is the feature and hallmark of a major national team and of a great country."

Tuesday's semi-final match against Germany was always going to be a tough challenge for the home side, but no one predicted the 7-1 thrashing that sent rival Germany to the finals.

"We came into this match without two of our main players, Neymar, a major attacker, and our captain, Thiago Silva."

Brazil's World Cup performance is important to Rousseff not only as a matter of national pride, but as a matter of politics.

"If we had won," one Brazilian told CNN's Isa Soares, "the people would have forgotten all the money spent; at least now the realities are back in focus."

The country saw widespread anger and protests against what many viewed as excessive spending on stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup.

Rousseff, who is bidding for re-election this October, put a big emphasis on the World Cup as a chance for Brazil to prove itself on the world stage.

"One has to bear in mind that from all different aspects, the fact is that Brazil has organized and staged a World Cup, which I do believe is one of the world's best World Cups. And that is largely due to the Brazilian people's ability to offer and extend hospitality and welcome supporters from all over the world."