Football fans expectations are centred on the match scheduled to take place at 05:00pm on 12 June, between Brazil and Croatia, at the Corinthians Arena in São Paulo. But before the first whistle, a big show promises to thrill the around 61 thousand fans who will be at the stadium, in addition to millions - or billions – who will be watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony on television.
Gates will be opened at 01:00pm and the show starts at 03:15pm. Dancers, capoeira fighters, gymnasts and other artists will perform for about 25 minutes. Over 600 dancers will take to the pitch before the players to portray the host country's diversity, led by Daphné Cornez from Belgium, the show's artistic director.
The ceremony pays homage to three Brazilian treasures: nature, people and football. The show’s main element is a ‘live ball’, with over 90 thousand clusters and 7 thousand lighting nits, which moves around during the show, which is divided in four acts:
Act 1: Nature: mineral and vegetable wonders
Act 2: People: happiness for living, diversity and passion for music and dance
Act 3: Football: Brazil's true art
Final Act: official song “We Are One” sung by rapper Pitbull, Claudia Leitte and Olodum
A dress rehearsal was conducted this Sunday (08.06) at the stadium. However, the show’s grandeur did not lose sight of the pitch: scenery components were tested before, together with a pitch expert.
Organisers estimate that each minute of the show corresponds to 20 hours of rehearsal. Up to the ceremony, there will be a total of 84 hours of rehearsal, remembering that each hour of practice corresponds to six hours of preparation. Composing the sound track was also hard work: it took two and half months. Behind the wardrobe, there are 15 seamstresses, 120 thousand metres of fabric, 50 thousand metres of thread, 50 thousand crystals and stones, 200 metres of zippers, plus 606 decorations and props.
Before the match, a symbolic, but historic kick-off will take place at the Corinthians Arena. A paraplegic patient, moving around using an exoskeleton - which is a robot vest that controls brain activity – will get up from a wheelchair, walk for 25 metres on the pitch, and take the World Cup's first kick-off.
The demonstration will be provided by the Walk Again project, a group made up by 156 scientists, engineers and university technicians, in addition to research institutes throughout the world. The project's coordinator, Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis recently published one of the last steps of the endeavour on a social network. “The exoskeleton BRA-Santos Dumont 1, controlled by one of our volunteers, has successfully completed all tests on the pitch where the World Cup opening match will be held", said Nicolelis on 3 June.