ABUJa – The 20th edition of the FIFA World Cup tagged “Brazil 2014’’ on Thursday got underway officially in Sao Paulo with a colourful opening ceremony.
The ceremony involved a cast of 660 dancers who paid tribute to the country’s nature, people and football with a show around a “living’’ ball on the Arena de Sao Paulo pitch.
The performers were dressed as trees, flowers and various musical instruments, with all performing in three acts.
The central ball later opened to reveal singers Claudia Leitte, Jennifer Lopez and rapper Pitbull as they sang the official World Cup song as the finale.
Earlier in the day in Brazil, many fans had taken to the streets to sing and chant their support for Brazil as excitement built in the hours before the competition began.
But there were also demonstrations from those unhappy with the expense of hosting the tournament.
Police in Sao Paulo had to use teargas to break up one protest, which involved about 50 people.
There were also striking airport workers in Rio de Janeiro, who blocked a road outside the airport, demanding a wage increase and a World Cup bonus.
The strike was to have lasted for 24 hours but union leaders called it off early for legal reasons.
However, there was no trouble within the 65,000-seater Arena de Sao Paulo during the opening ceremony.(NAN)