Good evening, everybody! Well, after literally hours of anticipation it’s finally time to get our coverage of the World Cup finals under way. We’ll be back at 7.00 (BST) with this very live-blog of the opening ceremony, and as soon as that’s done we’ll be back for the opening match of the tournament, which to be played between Brazil and Croatia in São Paulo at 9.00. In the meantime, here’s a small sample of World Cup opening ceremonies from days gone by.

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Richard June 12, 20148:11 pm

Better late than never!

Ian June 12, 20148:10 pm

Right, well, it’s about time we wrapped this up. Thanks for stopping by, and sorry if there hasn’t been much, well, football so far. We’ll be back in about half an hour with Brazil vs Croatia. In the meantime, I’m off to swot up so that I sound as if I know what I’m talking about.

Richard June 12, 20148:08 pm

I do see you 5 days a week.

Ian June 12, 20148:06 pm

I’ve never claimed to be fair, Rich.

Richard June 12, 20148:02 pm

Anything less than Brazil becoming champions will be seen as another disappointment. I like Scolari though, and his style suits the team he has at the moment so I see them doing very well. It will surely take a really good performance to restrain them – tonight certainly.

“Modric plus ten” is a little unfair on them.

Ian June 12, 20148:00 pm

I heard someone describe Croatia as “Modric plus ten” the other day. So, if Brazil can shatter his kneecaps to smithereens in the first five minutes – and let’s not completely rule that out – then my prediction could be alright. To be honest, though, the thing I’m most interested in is how they cope with the pressures. Ghosts of 1950, and all that.

Richard June 12, 20147:57 pm

Due to both our confidence in the outcome it’s a sure fire win for Croatia, or a bore-draw.

Richard June 12, 20147:55 pm

I’m going to be less confident of the result but I will go for a Brazil opening win. I think, unfortunately, it will be as a jog not a run.

Maybe even limping over the line.

Mandzukic is out due to his red card against Iceland back in November during their qualifying games. Can’t see Jelavic, if he plays, causing the Samba squad as much of a problem. But Croatia have a strong team. Rakitic has been outstanding at Sevilla this season and Lovren surely won’t do his transfer options any harm.

Ian June 12, 20147:53 pm

Do you ever get that feeling before a match that you know exactly what its score will be? Because I have that about this match. I’m feeling 3-0 Brazil so strongly that, if I’d had a light ale or two, I’d put some money on it.

So, 2-0 Croatia, then.

Richard June 12, 20147:47 pm

So, now we’re on the game build-up, what do you think the result will be tonight?

Ian June 12, 20147:46 pm

Well, if football actually was anything like that advert, we’d be writing about another sport instead this evening.

Richard June 12, 20147:44 pm

I guess these Nike adverts were made before Sweden failed to quality and Ribery got ruled out.

Richard June 12, 20147:42 pm

It’s all over (I think)

Is that the only choice Hodgson has to make? Welbeck or Sterling?

Ian June 12, 20147:42 pm

Wow. The sound system on that J-Lo thing was just dreadful. Couldn’t make out a single thing of what was going on. If they’re trying to build up anticipation for the match later, though, they’re making a bleeding good job of it. I can’t wait for this glop to be over, at least.

Richard June 12, 20147:40 pm

‘A J-Lo’ is the new way we should refer to her.

Ian June 12, 20147:38 pm

That’s a J-Lo, is it? I thought it was Shakira.

(If it had been Jethro Tull, I’d have recognised who it was straight away)

Richard June 12, 20147:36 pm

I doubt the sequins are doing you many favours either then. At least the trees are back.

Here comes Jennifer Lopez, from the Bronx!

Ian June 12, 20147:33 pm

These football hat things are not helping my mental condition. It all looks a bit like Tron, had that film been directed by Jimmy Hill (which, so far as I’m aware, it wasn’t) at the moment.

Richard June 12, 20147:31 pm

As easy as walking a dog!

The one in the England shirt hasn’t messed up yet – which basically suggests they are from Brazil.

Richard June 12, 20147:31 pm

Going off the World Cup, but Football related, Fabregas is a steal at £27 million.

Wait…. those hats look at bit like Football’s

Ian June 12, 20147:29 pm

Meanwhile, nothing to do with football is happening on the pitch in Sao Paulo at the moment. (Insert your favourite England team joke here.)

Richard June 12, 20147:27 pm

Cor, and there’s a long way to go yet. I’m quite partial to the James Bond/Queen moment from the Olympics.

Ian June 12, 20147:24 pm

Another favourite, of course, was the crappy St George fighting a crappy dragon before the start of Euro 96. (As an aside to readers, there is a reasonably good chance that these will blogs will be interrupted by other contributors, especially when they’re drunk – I literally can’t stop them.)

Richard June 12, 20147:21 pm

I for one think the Ent’s are the best thing I’ve seen in any opening ceremony since Dianna Ross’ penalty kick.

Ian June 12, 20147:20 pm

This looks like far too literal iteration of the Amazonian rainforest to me. I mean, they’re dressed as flowers and trees. Oh man, I am not a fan of interpretive dance.

Richard June 12, 20147:19 pm

Are these professionals dancers? I’m not disappointed because it reminds me of a Tolkien novel.

Richard June 12, 20147:17 pm

Well you’re right, they’re from São Paulo… I believe.

I’d mute it over half time if I were you!

Ian June 12, 20147:15 pm

Sepultura! Of course, Sepultura! I was trying to think of a half-famous Brazilian band and had only got as far as CSS (who I’m saying are Brazilian, even though I haven’t looked this up.)

Anyway. meanwhile, Clive Tyldesley is commentating tonight. I met him once. He was very nice, actually (and, I can’t help but think, surprisingly). I’m keeping the volume down, mind.

Richard June 12, 20147:12 pm

So, I loved that CGI Zlatan introduction for the new Nike advert. I hear he has a new twitter hashtag that he’s pushing at every opportunity.


Richard June 12, 20147:07 pm

Hello all.

I’m quietly confident we’re going to see Sepultura later; who will also berate Adrian Chiles.

It’s only up from this point.

Ian June 12, 20147:03 pm

Good evening, boys and girls! Are we excited yet? Richard Grinham and I are here to take you through the opening ceremony to the 2014 World Cup finals, kicking off with the opening ceremony from Sao Paolo. ITV are broadcasting this on the television, so you can expect a considerable amount of vituperation to be thrown in the direction of Adrian Chiles this evening. Hopefully, there’ll be a Diana Ross-esque incident moment or two – see above – and Sepp Blatter will get pelted with rotten eggs, or some such. Hope springs eternal.