It’s here, it’s finally here—the World Cup is back.
On Thursday, all eyes will turn to Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the tournament that we’ve all been waiting for ever since the curtain came down on South Africa 2010 gets underway.
While all 32 competing nations are meticulously preparing for the group stage, behind closed doors the rehearsals for the 2014 World Cup’s Opening Ceremony are ongoing in what’s set to be a spectacular show worthy of starting the tournament.
Venue: Arena de Sao Paulo
Date: Thursday, June 12
Time: 7:15 p.m. BST/2:15 p.m. ET
TV Info: ITV1/ESPN
Kicking Off the World Cup with a Bang
Before the real business gets underway with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia in World Cup 2014’s opener, the world will be treated to a show like no other.
In a perfect curtain-raiser for the month of action to follow, performers will unite for a 25-minute spectacular that involves singing, dancing, acrobatics and more.
Artistic director Daphne Cornez revealed that the show will honour Brazil and that the hundreds of performers are more motivated than ever to thrill their worldwide audience—per FIFA.com:
The Opening Ceremony is a tribute to Brazil and its treasures: nature, people football. The sense of excitement here is amazing and everyone is very motivated. It doesn’t matter whether they’re feeling tired or hot sometimes or if they have to go through routines again and again: they just keep on smiling. It’s amazing.
Brazil’s endless treasures will be represented by both performers and props throughout the show, with a “living” LED ball being the central focus—made up of a reported 90,000 light clusters.
Among the performers at the Opening Ceremony will be rapper Pitbull, who will team up with Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte and drumming group Olodum to perform "We Are One"—the official song of the tournament.
The 33-year-old rapper from Florida, who recently stormed to the top of the charts with "Timber," said that the show will bring the world together on June 12—per BBC Newsbeat:
"I truly believe that this great game and the power of music will help unify us, because we are best when we are one."
According to FIFA.com’s report, for every minute of the 25 that the show is set to last, 20 hours of preparation have taken place, making our expectations go up even more.
More than 600 volunteers offered their services to make the Opening Ceremony every bit as thrilling as the football that follows, and they’ll become a part of sporting history when they take centre stage.
Little over an hour afterwards, Brazil will take to the pitch to officially open the World Cup, with Croatia their Group A opponents.
With such a short transitional period, organisers had to ensure that they didn’t damage the pitch prior to the big kick-off, as executive director of operational planning and support, Joana Havelange, explained via FIFA.com's report:
The ceremony is taking place during the day, which means we won’t be using a lot of lighting or firework. There will be no pointed, sharp objects on the pitch or anything that’s very heavy. As a result, the show will focus heavily on the dancers, the sets, the dance routines, fantasy sequences and the soundtrack, which is really lovely and took two-and-a-half months to write.
While the Opening Ceremony will have already created a party atmosphere in Sao Paulo, if the hosts can go on to record a victory then the stadium will reach fever pitch.
We’ve seen some incredible Opening Ceremony performances in the past, and with the meticulous planning that’s gone into 2014’s edition, it’s all set to be the best one yet.