The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off… literally

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Brazil fans
Brazil’s soccer fans get going at an early age.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) kicked off its 2014 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, drawing the very best soccer teams from 31 countries to compete in the world’s most internationally played sport. Taking place in Brazil for the second time, the 20th FIFA World Cup will feature 64 matches played in 12 cities across the country.

Spain is the defending champion, after they beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final for their first World title. Every 4 years, teams get a chance to seize the soccer crown, so you can bet Spain will have their work cut out for them. This year’s total prize money will surely motivate teams to go hardcore, since there’s $576 million up for grabs!

The opening ceremony in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, was electric this year. Mega celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Pit Bull, and Brazilian pop singer Claudia Leitte lit up the crowd with strong performances, as thousands of fans decked out in their host nation’s colors of green and yellows danced to the beats. You can bet they were really dancing in the aisles after Brazil beat Croatia 3-1, in the post-show match!

Images courtesy of FIFA World Cup Facebook.