FIFA World Cup 2014, Opening Ceremony: As it happened...
Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
Undoubtedly, the biggest show on earth is about to begin with a star-studded Opening ceremony at the 68,000-seat New Corinthians Stadium.
The 2014 Brazil World Cup opening ceremony will start at 11:30 pm IST.
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00:15 am One parting image from the Arena Corinthians.
The World Cup opening ceremony pic.twitter.com/LgzlWPfl60
— Troll Football (@Troll__Football) June 12, 2014
00:10 am They performed the official song for the gathering, and with that concludes the Opening ceremony. Half and hour of intense celebration, true Samba style.
00:05 am After an elaborate presentation, the ball opened with the arrival of star-performers Jennifer Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte and Pitbull. The rapper is wearing a Brazil T, carrying the jersey no. 10.
00:02 am And, occupying the centre of the field is one huge ball, revolving like the earth and also carrying various imageries including that of Brazuca, the official match-ball of the tournament.
11:58 pm Giving their presentation the feel of the beautiful game, is the sound of referee's whistle in the background, with cymbals and huge drums projecting their own presence.
11:55 pm Then, followed by a huge troupe of traditional dancers showcasing different dance forms of Brazil. Their dance routines are seen intertwining with flawless martial arts regimes. Brazil, certainly a beautiful country.
11:50 pm The opening sequence in the Opening ceremony witnessed the arrival of the tournament mascot, Fuleco in its full glory. By the way, it's one of the rare species of armadillo, found only in Brazil. Unluckily, it has been categorised as a vulnerable species.
11:45 pm For many "The Cup of Life" by Ricky Martin is still the hottest official song, but Jennifer Lopez and Pit Bull's "We are One" is not that bad, considering it seemingly tried to imbibe Shakira's "Waka Waka" feel into it. But the video of this edition's song is unrivaled.
11:37 pm The official match ball of the tournament is Brazuca, from Adidas. It is the first World Cup ball named by fans. And was manufactured in Sialkot, Pakistan.
11:30 pm Here is the message from Pope Francis, which we spoke about earlier...
I wish everyone a wonderful World Cup, played in a spirit of true fraternity.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 12, 2014
11:27 pm However, unlike the previous editions, the FIFA president, Joseph Blatter will not declare open the tournament. Instead, three children sending the doves into the air, will mark the opening of the tournament. It is worth remembering that during last year's Confederations Cup, Blatter and Rousseff were jeered.
11:23 pm United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, along with eight heads of state will attend the Opening ceremony.
11:05 pm The first kick at the World Cup opening ceremony will be made by a paraplegic, whose identity has been kept a secret, wearing an Iron Man-like robotic bodysuit controlled by signals from the brain.
11:00 pm Meanwhile, speaking Exclusively to Zeenews, Indian legend Bhaichung Bhutia touted Germany as the favorites to win the World Cup this year.
10:55 pm However, Croatia have only conceded 11 goals in 13 World Cup games. This is the best defending record among the 32 teams taking part in 2014.
10:50 pm Brazil have never lost any of their opening World Cup games.
10:44 pm The sitting capacity of Arena Corinthians, which will be known as Arena de Sao Paulo during the course of the World Cup, has been increased to 61,606 after request from the fans. It is the home to Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.
10:30 pm In between, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi released commemorative postage stamps on the 2014 FIFA World Cup today. During the function, he said that sport brings about a spirit of amity and belongingness among nations of the world.
10:23 pm Yesterday, defending the huge costs incurred in preparation to the World Cup, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff defended the choice saying, “We did this, above all, for Brazilians.” It is believed that the South American nation has spent over USD 11 billion for the tournament and many sections of the society have launched varied forms of protests against the spending.
10:15 pm One of the biggest football fans, Pope Francis has already delivered a video message to the organisers, players and fans. His message will be broadcast on Brazilian television ahead of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. The Argentine-born pope is a lifelong fan of the Buenos Aires' San Lorenzo and has an unrivaled collection of jerseys and usually welcomes visiting teams at the Vatican City.
10:05 pm One notable absentee from the South African edition will be that noisy vuvuzelas. And of course that moody Jabulani ball.
9:59 pm For the first time in the history of the competition, the 2014 edition will witness the introduction of the goal-line technology. German company GoalControl will provide the tech and it's learnt that they will use a total of 14 high-speed cameras, seven on each goalmouth from the roofs of the stadiums.
So, players and referees will have at least one issue resolved beforehand. Remember Frank Lampard against Germany in South Africa.
No more ghost goals too!
9:53 pm For Brazil, today is the make of mar day. The most successful nation in the world football – winner of five unprecedented World Cup titles – are hosting the football's show-piece event in the backdrop of a heightened tension mainly due to the protests against the World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics preparations.
9:45 pm Unlike other opening ceremonies, the Sao Paulo gala will see minimum of fireworks as it will be held during daylight.
9:30 pm Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull will perform the World Cup`s official song "We are one" in the ceremony`s grand finale along with Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. Famous Brazilian drumming collective, Olodum will also add their sheen in the act.
9:20 pm More than 600 dancers, along with gymnasts, trampolinists and stilt walkers will perform alongside a LED (light-emitting diode) ball.
9:10 pm According to the artistic director Daphne Cornez of the ceremony, "The opening ceremony is a tribute to Brazil and its treasures: nature, people football."
9:00 pm The Opening ceremony will be followed by the first game of the tournament, with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia.