The 2014 World Cup officially got under way with a colorful opening ceremony before hosts Brazil kicked off against Croatia.
A cast of 660 dancers paid tribute to Brazil’s nature, people and football with a show around a “living” ball on the Arena de Sao Paulo pitch.
The final act saw a performance of official World Cup song We Are One by Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull.
The month-long tournament sees 32 nations compete in 64 games.
Many fans took to the streets to sing and chant their support for Brazil as excitement built in the hours before the tournament began.
But there were also demonstrations from those unhappy with the expense of hosting the tournament.
Performers dressed as trees, flowers and various musical instruments all performed in three acts before the central ball opened to reveal singers Claudia Leitte, Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull as they sang the official World Cup song as the finale.
The opening game of the tournament between Brazil and Croatia kicks off at 17:00 local time.
No host nation have ever lost their opening World Cup game, with the previous 20 producing 14 victories and six draws for the hosts.
Brazil starts as favorite to win the World Cup for a sixth time, while holders Spain are aiming to win a fourth major tournament in a row after winning the European Championship two years ago.
The other seeded teams are Colombia, Uruguay, Switzerland, Argentina, Germany and Belgium.
FIFA said it had sold more than 2.9 million tickets, but they were still available for several matches on Wednesday, including some involving Germany, Italy and France.
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