Pics: World Cup opening ceremony

Something like 80,000 plant species can be found in the rainforests of Brazil and just about all of them seemed to be represented in a lavish spectacular to open the 2014 World Cup.

Singers Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Claudia Leitte got the party started at the 62,000-plus capacity Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo on Friday morning (Australian time).

Joyous colour-coded football fans were joined by guests including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and gaffe-prone FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

But it was a moment to forget the politics of football and celebrate Brazil’s three great passions – nature, people AND football.

Hundreds of performers including acrobats, trampolinists and stilt walkers took part in the extravaganza. The spellbinding centrepiece was a giant LED ball - featuring more than 90,000 light clusters - which opened into a stage.

After all that, the real party kicked off and the Selecao did their part to keep spirits high by downing Croatia 3-1 in the opening match to get the host nation’s campaign off to a winning start.