Moments before the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the competition's elaborate closing ceremony will take place. Up to five acts will feature to help give what has been a highly successful tournament a rousing lyrical send-off.
Among those performing will be familiar World Cup face Shakira, partner of Spain centre-back Gerard Pique. She'll be singing this tournament's theme song entitled "La la la (Brazil 2014)." Shakira will be joined by fellow performers such as Wyclef Jean.
There will also be room for a few Brazilian musicians to pay tribute to a competition that must rate as a success despite its troubled beginnings.
Below is all the relevant schedule information for the closing ceremony, including start time and live stream information:
|Date||Start Time UK||Start Time US||Live Stream UK||Live Stream US|
|Sunday, July 13||7.30 p.m. BST||2.30 p.m. ET||BBCSport.co.uk / ITV Player||ESPN Player|
BBC.co.uk, ITV.com. ESPN.com
Low-key is certainly not a description FIFA generally cares for, particularly for the closing ceremony of its gala tournament. The organisation will feel entitled to make a show to laud a competition that defied meagre early expectations and consistently wowed audiences.
For a long time that didn't seem even remotely possible. Brazil's preparation plans were a mess. Chronic problems with the country's infrastructure drew criticism from the nation's sporting legends.
The political situation is difficult. The situation worries me. There has been sufficient time to bring the stadiums to completion. It's unacceptable. It is a disgrace.
The "political situation" Pele referred to was the civil unrest that was accompanying the buildup to much of this World Cup. Protests at the cost the country was paying to host the tournament became a familiar sight.
Although these protests gradually became more muted, they have not stopped entirely while matches have been played. Police recently curtailed angry demonstrations on the eve of the final, per a Reuters report appearing in The Telegraph:
Rio de Janeiro police said on Saturday they had detained 19 people with a history of committing vandalism during protests as Brazil tries to pre-empt any potential violent demonstrations during Sunday's World Cup final.
Protests across Brazil have petered out since the month-long soccer tournament started on June 12, but authorities are taking no chances now that online videos are encouraging violent fringe groups to return to the streets when Germany plays Argentina.
Brazil 2014 Considered One of the Greatest Ever
Yet despite all of the logistical problems and the very intense backdrop to these finals, the competition has been widely deemed a huge success. Football fans have savoured what have mostly been open and entertaining games generally played in the right spirit.
Such has been the praise for this World Cup that fans recently voted Brazil 2014 the greatest-ever edition of the storied tournament in a poll conducted by BBC Sport:
It is of little surprise then, that Brazil 2014 also ran away with readers' votes on the tournament with the best goals scored, as it took 44.1%.
Brazil 2014 was also voted the most competitive in World Cup history, with 55.9% of readers recognising a tournament that has seen the likes of Chile, Costa Rica and Colombia excel, as well as plenty of closely-fought contests.
Supporter endorsements in those particular categories speak to the attacking nature of many of the games. Group encounters in particular featured heavy doses of late drama and spectacular goals.
However, it would be fair to argue that matches have become a little more cagey after the group stages. But that's only natural, given the increased pressure on advancing teams. Generally speaking, this tournament has been defined by the quality of its attacking play.
Germany, the final's European representative, are a fine example of that. They have produced some dazzling displays, with the 7-1 semi-final annihilation of Brazil likely to be the abiding memory of this tournament.
Of course, that unforgettable display of ruthless technical and creative authority is just one of many dramatic moments supporters will take from this tournament.
That is sure to make the closing ceremony a time of joy for the fans. It will be more than just an opportunity for FIFA organisers to congratulate themselves.
Hopefully, a brief but spectacular ceremony will serve as the ideal precursor to a thrilling final between Germany and Argentina. That really would be the most fitting way to cap this tournament.