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FIFA World Cup gets a fitting start

  • World Cup, Claudia Leitte, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Itaquerao

    Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, right, US singer Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The greatest show on the earth, the FIFA World Cup carnival, began with a coruscating opening ceremony, which encapsulated the colour, culture and nature of Brazil, hosting the big football party first time since 1950. A giant LED ball, placed at the centre of the stadium, displayed the welcome message in different languages, and hundreds of artists started to trickle in.

  • World Cup, Claudia Leitte, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Itaquerao

    Actors perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dressed as trees, plants and flowers, the artists represented the nature of the country with background music, which had no drum tunes as yet. Then on show was the diversity of the Brazilian people, their dance and martial arts, developed by the slaves in the 16th century for self defence.

  • World Cup, FIFA

    A giant shirt "Castilho do Brasil Fan Club" is displayed during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The vibrant opening ceremony encapsulated the colour, culture and nature of Brazil, hosting the big football party first time since 1950. It was followed by what Brazil is synonymous with:, game of Football. Several people with football as headgear came in and kids dressed as referees came to the pitch and depicted conduct of a match. Immediately after this, the Brazilian flag was paraded onto the pitch. Thousands of football lovers from across the world thronged the Corinthians Arena and watched the spectacle unfold with invigorating enthusiasm.

  • World Cup, FIFA

    Players line up on the field before the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brazil launched their FIFA World Cup campaign in style with a 3-1 victory over Croatia in a free-flowing opening match as the biggest sporting spectacle on earth began here on Thursday. The opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2014 had all the ingredients for an exhilarating start to the biggest sporting extravaganza.

  • World Cup, Neymar, Corinthians arena

    Brazil players celebrate after Neymar, right, scored a penalty kick during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wonder boy Neymar emerged as a true hero as he rose to the occasion by scoring an equaliser before converting a highly controversial penalty to send the 60,000 plus gathering into an ecstatic frenzy at the Corinthians arena.

  • Croatia, FIFA

    Croatia players argue after being given a penalty by referee Yuichi Nishimura from Japan during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was dubbed as villain for his dubious decision to award penalty, leaving Croatian team and their fans heartbroken. Fred had backed into Croatian defender Dejan Lovren and fell over, an act which Nishimura punished.

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